JOHANNESBURG – Athletics were the big losers when the South African team was announced on Tuesday for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
There are only 13 track-and-field athletes included in the 169-member squad for the event, which takes place from April 4 to 15.
Twenty-four track-and-field athletes made the initial squad, but almost half were found to be not good enough to make the final team.
Only three women made the cut, with three-time world champion Caster Semenya and Olympic javelin throw silver medallist Sunette Viljoen making the cut being joined by 400m hurdler Wenda Nel.
Viljoen and former world 400m hurdles bronze medallist LJ van Zyl are among the senior members of the squad as they will be going to their fourth Commonwealth Games.
World long-jump champion Luvo Manyonga and bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai will be keen to give South Africa a 1-2 finish on the podium.
Aquatics were the big winners, with 23 swimmers and three divers earning their place for the quadrennial showpiece.
The swimming team will be spearheaded by Olympic gold medallists Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos, with promising female swimmers Tatjana Schoenmaker, Erin Gallagher and Dune Coetzee also included.
Swimming SA (SSA) chief executive Shaun Adriaanse said they had lobbied Sascoc to select a larger team with the hopes of unearthing the generation to follow in the footsteps of Le Clos and Van der Burgh.
“We will have an attrition rate and not all of them will make the grade, but if we get 20 percent out of them that gains the necessary experience and go on to perform, I am happy,” Adriaanse said.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games was the first time since Kuala Lumpur 1998 that a South African female swimmer failed to win a medal.
The South African team will bank heavily on Le Clos and Van der Burgh, who have the ability to win multiple medals.
Le Clos won a total of six individual and six relay medals from the 2010 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Glasgow respectively.
Van der Burgh has won gold in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events at the 2010 Delhi Games, and successfully defended his 50m breaststroke title before finishing second in the 100m in Glasgow.
Luan Grobbelaar and Dune Coetzee, both aged 15, will be the two youngest members of the team, while lawn bowler Princess Schreuder (67) will be the oldest competitor for South Africa.
Since Team SA’s return to international sport, they have finished fifth on the medals table on three occasions (Kuala Lumpur, 1998; Melbourne, 2006 and New Delhi, 2010) in six Commonwealth Games events.
South Africa slipped down the table at the previous edition, Glasgow 2014, finishing seventh with a total medal count of 40 (13 gold, 10 silver and 17 bronze).
Sascoc president Gideon Sam said instead of predicting how many medals the team would reap, he hoped they would return to fifth place on the table.
“Two years out from the Tokyo Olympics, these Games are a great platform to see where our sportsmen and women, both established and developing, are on the world stage,” Sam said.
“You will see that it’s a great blend of experience and raw talent, and I’m confident we’ll once again be right up there with the cream of Commonwealth countries and looking to improve on our seventh place on the medals table in Glasgow four years ago.”
He had added that the Olympic body decided to broaden South Africa’s athletic base with an eye on the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which was awarded to Durban before the country was stripped of the hosting rights.
Sam said instead of shelving the idea, they opted to give as many athletes an opportunity to participate at the Commonwealth Games.
“It is history now that we missed the opportunity, but we didn’t change the process and opened up so that we have more athletes going through,” Sam said.
The team will represent the country across 16 codes, including para-sports athletics, lawn bowls, swimming, table tennis and powerlifting.
The South African Team to the Gold Coast is:
Women: Erin Gallagher, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Dune Coetzee, Kate Beavon, Kaylene Corbett, Emily Visagie, Marlies Ross, Nathania van Niekerk, Kristin Bellingan, Mariella Venter, Emma Chelius.
Men: Ayrton Sweeney, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos, Jarryd Baxter, Brad Tandy, Brent Szurdoki, Martin Binedell, Ryan Coetzee, Eben Vorster, Luan Grobbelaar, Calvyn Justus, Michael Houlie.
Para-swimming: Christian Sadie, Kaleb van der Merwe
Diving: Nicole Gillis, Micaela Bouter, Julia Vincent
Women: Caster Semenya, Sunette Viljoen, Wenda Nel.
Men: Akani Simbine, Antonio Alkana, Constant Pretorius, LJ van Zyl, Lebogang Shange, Wayne Snyman, Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Phil-Mar Janse van Rensburg, Breyton Poole.
Women: Juanelie Meijer. Men: Ndodomzi Ntutu, Hilton Langenhoven, Dyan Buis, Charl du Toit, Union Sekailwe, Reinhardt Hamman, Juanre Jenkinson.
Women: Elsie de Villiers, Johanita Scholtz and Michelle Butler-Emmett.
Men: Bongani von Bodenstein, Cameron Coetzer and Prakash Vijayanath.
Siyabulela Mphongoshi and Sinethemba Blom.
Women: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. Men: Willie Smit, Nicholas Dlamini, Clint Hendricks, Brendon Davids.
Women: Charlene du Preez, Elfriede Wolfaardt, Ilze Bole, Danielle van Niekerk, Adelia Neethling.
Men: Steven van Heerden, Nolan Hoffmann, David Maree, Joshua van Wyk, Gert Fouchè.
Women: Mariske Strauss, Cherie Redecker. Men: Alan Hatherly.
Men: Gowan Jones, Siyavuya Nolutshungu, Daniel Bell, Jethro Eustice, Gareth Heyns, Tyson Dlungwana, Austin Smith, Daniel Sibbald, Timothy Drummond, Reza Rosenburg, Ryan Julius, Owen Mvimbi, Clinton Panther, Nqobile Ntuli, Abdud-Dayaan Cassiem, Keenan Horne, Tevin Kok, Ryan Crowe.
Women: Phumelela Mbande, Nicole la Fleur, Erin Hunter, Nicole Walraven, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Celia Evans, Nicolene Terblanche, Shelley Jones, Quanita Bobbs, Kristen Paton, Ilse Davids, Stephanie Baxter, Ongeziwe Mali, Dirkie Chamberlain, Candice Manuel, Sulette Damons, Jade Mayne, Bernadette Coston.
Women: Elma Davis, Esme Kruger, Nicolene Neal, Colleen Piketh, Johanna Snyman.
Men: Gerald Baker, Petrus Breitenbach, Jason Evans, Josephus Jacobs, Morgan Muvhango.
Women: Princess Schroeder. Director: Annatjie van Rooyen.
Men: Tobias Botha, Willem Viljoen, Christopher Patton, Philippus Walker.
Director: Graham Ward.
Bongiwe Msomi, Karla Pretorius, Erin Burger, Izette Griesel, Maryka Holtzhausen, Danelle Lochner, Phumza Maweni, Precious Mthembu, Shadine van der Merwe, Ine-Mari Venter, Zanele Vimbela, Lenize Potgieter.
Men: To be announced at the end of February.
Women: Nadine Roos, Eloise Webb, Unathi Mali, Rights Mkhari, Zintle Mpupha, Veroeshka Grain, Zenay Jordaan, Marithy Pienaar, Mathrin Simmers, Christelene Steinhobel, Chane Stadler, Zinthle Ndawonde.
Bartholomeus Pienaar, Pierre Basson, Arno Haasbroek, André du Toit.
Women: Gillian Sanders and Simone Ackermann. Men: Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman and Wian Sullwald.
Johanni Taljaard, Mona Pretorius and Celestie Engelbrecht
Jan Louwrens Combrinck, Terry van Rensburg, Johannes Botha, Michael Gaitskill, Martin Erasmus.