Mona Pretorius won her first weightlifting medal at her fourth Commonwealth Games. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters
Mona Pretorius won her first weightlifting medal at her fourth Commonwealth Games. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters
Caster Semenya delivered on her promise of gold in the 800m and 1500m. Photo: Darren England/EPA
Caster Semenya delivered on her promise of gold in the 800m and 1500m. Photo: Darren England/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – Team South Africa fell one place short of their goal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, but the team can still be satisfied with their efforts in Australia.

South Africa finished sixth on the medals table, one better than four years ago after winning a total of 37 medals - 13 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze.

There will always be those that did not deliver on their promise, while others surprised everyone but themselves.

Athletics was the biggest contributor to the medals tally with 12, while swimming produced the most gold with six between three swimmers.

South Africa have now been to seven Commonwealth Games since 1994 where they have finished fifth on the medals table on three occasions (Kuala Lumpur, 1998; Melbourne 2006 and New Delhi 2010).

The team set out to return to fifth place after slipping to seventh four years ago at the Glasgow Games.

We take a closer look at the big winners at the Games.

Athletics (14 medals: 5 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze):

Caster Semenya highlighted her superstar status when she became only the third female to win the 800-1 500m double at the Commonwealth Games.

The 27-year-old set her double bid in motion by breaking Zola Budd’s 34-year-old South African 1 500m record, before completely dominating the 800m for her second gold.

Sprinters Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies provided double delight when they won South Africa's first gold-silver 100m double at the Games.

There can be no doubt about Simbine’s pedigree as a world-class sprinter, inspiring South Africa's 4x100m relay quartet that included Anaso Jobodwana, Bruintjies and Emile Erasmus to a silver medal.

It was South Africa's first 4x100m relay medal at a major championship since the foursome of Lee-Roy Newton, Leigh Julius Sherwin Vries and Snyman Prinsloo won silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

World long-jump champion Luvo Manyonga, 27, spearheaded another South African gold-bronze double in the sandpit, with 26-year-old Ruswahl Samaai finishing with his second straight third-place finish.

South Africa were somewhat unlucky not to challenge for another double in the men’s 200m after Jobodwana was disqualified for a false start in his semi-final, while Clarence Munyai ran with an injury in the final.

Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies got a one-two in the 100m .Photo: Andrew Cornaga/BackpagePix

Swimming (12 medals: 6 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze):

The South African swimming team finished third on the table with their 12 medals which included six gold, three silver and three bronze.

Chad le Clos once again proved to be the stalwart of the South African swimming team, winning a total of five individual medals including the golden butterfly treble.

Cameron van der Burgh drew the curtain on his final Commonwealth Games in style by winning his third consecutive 50m breaststroke gold medal with a famous victory over world record-holder Adam Peaty.

The 29-year-old also won the 100m breaststroke bronze medal while he played a leading role in the 4x100m medley relay quartet, which included Calvyn Justus, Le Clos and Brad Tandy, finishing third in the final.

Newly-crowned queen of the pool Tatjana Schoenmaker provided some of the greatest delights at the Games becoming the first able-bodied female swimmer since Joan Harrison at the 1954 Vancouver Games to win a gold medal at the multi-sport event.

She returned to South Africa as the Commonwealth 100-200m breaststroke double champion and the proud owner of three African records.

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Lawn Bowls (5 medals: 3 silver, 2 bronze):

Nicolene Neal and Colleen Piketh came within a point of winning the women’s pairs gold medal, but had to be content with silver after a gutsy fightback by Malaysia in their 15-14 defeat.

South Africa’s bowlers finished the competition in sixth place with a total of five medals - three silver and two bronze - with gold eluding them this time around.

Piketh also won the singles bronze medal while Neal won silver with the women’s four.

Cycling (2 bronze medals):

Mountain biker Alan Hatherly and road cyclist Clint Hendricks showed immense character to win bronze medals in their respective events.

Hatherly won his bronze medal just months after breaking his arm, while Hendricks managed to squeeze through a small gap shortly before the line in a sprint to finish in third place in the road race.

Wrestling (Gold and bronze):

Martin Erasmus became the first South African since the 1958 Games in Cardiff to win a wrestling gold medal at the quadrennial showpiece, while Hanru Botha won silver in the 74-kilogram category.

Erasmus was rampageous en route to his gold medal - winning all his matches on technical superiority.

Henri Schoeman of Team SA in action during the Mixed Team Relay Triathlon. Photo: Dean Lewins/EPA

Triathlon (Gold medal):

Henri Schoeman sparked South Africa’s medal haul at the Games with a barn-storming performance on the first day of competition, beating a classy field which included two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee for the title.

While Schoeman fired on all cylinders, the mixed relay team failed to get onto the podium like four years ago.

Simone Ackermann, who was lead-off in the relay team, slowed to a crawl due to an injury leaving their hopes in tatters.

Weightlifting (Bronze medal):

Mona Pretorius emerged as the epitome of perseverance winning the bronze medal in the women’s Under-63kg category, 12 years after she made her Commonwealth debut in Melbourne 2006.

The Star

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