JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s early gold rush at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games slowed down on Thursday but the harvest continued mostly in the form of silver and bronze.
While the country’s medal tally increased to 32 – 11 gold, nine silver, and 12 bronze – they slipped one place to fifth.
The country won three more medals on the track courtesy of a sprint double from visually impaired athletes Johnny Ntutu and Hilton Langenhoven, who won the 100m gold and silver respectively.
South African women's 400m hurdles ace Wenda Nel added the third medal winning bronze in her specialist event.
Amateur wrestler Hanru Botha’s hopes of winning gold in the 74-kilogram category were short-lived with former world champion Sushil Kumar of India outclassing the South African to win his third consecutive title.
Botha nevertheless walked away with a silver medal to give South Africa’s its first wrestling gong at the Gold Coast Games.
The wrestler bowed the knee to Kumar, who won the bout 10-0 on technical superiority.
Fellow grappler Kleinjan Combrinck missed out on a medal with Nigeria’s Ebikwenimo Welson beating him 5-2 for the bronze in the 57kg category.
World Under-23 Mountain Bike silver medallist Alan Hatherly produced an impressive performance to bag South Africa’s first medal in the event claiming the bronze.
Hatherly was still in for a shot at the first or second place but he could not keep up with the Kiwi pair of Samual Gaze and Anton Cooper, who won gold and silver and gold respectively.
It was an impressive performance considering Hatherly had broken his arm in a fall in the build-up to the Games but still managed to stay in shape.
“I was racing against the best in the world so to come away third 20 seconds back is a really good race considering it’s the first big one back,” Hatherly said. “It is a super tough course out here, so I’m happy to have been here two weeks early to adjust to the humidity here.
“I pulled it home safely in third and I am happy with it. My form was perfect, I only missed three days of training (due to the fractured arm) so my form was as good as it could have been.”
Earlier, disabled lawn bowls trio Christopher Patton, Tobias Botha and Willem Viljoen beat England 16-13 to win the B6/B7/B8 triples bronze medal.
Colleen Piketh and Nicolene Neal will have a shot at South Africa’s first lawn bowls gold at these Games when they take on Malaysia in the women’s pair on Friday.
Piketh, who won the singles bronze earlier this week, could win her second consecutive pairs gold medal at the Commonwealth Games after beating Scotland 18-10 in the semi-final.
The South African netball team staved off a determined Uganda claiming an 11-goal victory over their African counterparts.
Uganda put up a gutsy fight against their bigger continental sisters and threatened to topple a giant.
The sides went into the final quarter with South Africa holding a slender four-goal lead with the Ugandans looking confident of causing an upset.
The Proteas, however, showed their class as they lifted their game to outscore Uganda 14-7 in the final period to claim a 53-42 victory finishing one place better than at the Glasgow 2014 Games.