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No crowds, but Selwyn Davids can ‘feel the Olympics vibe' in Tokyo

FILE - Blitzbok player Selwyn Davids. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

FILE - Blitzbok player Selwyn Davids. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 23, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Selwyn Davids is the chief playmaker in the Blitzbok Olympic squad, with a heady cocktail of pace, quick feet and kicking skills making him the complete package.

You would think that he has a good grasp of all ball sports, then, but watching some softball action at the Tokyo Olympics this week left him a bit lost.

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“I watched the softball and I didn’t really understand it. Myself and Stedman (Gans) WhatsApped each other to find out what was happening, and we just had a laugh about it,” Davids chuckled this week as things got under way in Tokyo.

Davids and the Blitzboks are about a 1 000km away in the southern city of Kagoshima, where the Springboks also prepared for their triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

The 27-year-old, who hails from Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape, has taken just 20 World Sevens Series tournaments to become a key figure in the Blitzbok line-up, where he has fulfilled the role that Cecil Afrika used to do.

He is keen to help the Springbok Sevens go two steps further and turn their Rio 2016 bronze medal into gold in Japan, but he admits that the rough start to life as an Olympian over the last week has been challenging, with the Blitzboks forced into Covid-19 quarantine and coach Neil Powell isolated for the entire tournament.

“When we got to Japan, obviously excited. But then what happened, happened, where we had to quarantine and all of that. So it felt like, ai … we are now a step further than what we were, and when we came out to train on the field on Tuesday, then it felt again like great, awesome, exciting feeling to be back,” Davids said from Kagoshima.

“Then we knew it’s now that time – the Olympics have basically started! I could feel that vibe, even though there weren’t any crowds, that it is big – with or without crowds.”

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The Blitzboks will begin their tournament on Monday against Ireland (4am kickoff), followed by Kenya on the same day (12pm). They complete their pool fixtures against the United States on Tuesday (4.30am), and will hope to qualify for the quarter-finals on the same day, before the semi-finals and final are held on Wednesday.

The South Africans will hope to reach Monday with a full squad and no further Covid-19 disruptions.

“Before we flew to Japan, we tested every day the whole week. The test in Japan is much tougher than the test in South Africa – that’s the first tough thing,” said Davids.

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