South Africa raked in nine medals on Monday at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, on what will go down as one of the most memorable all-round performances by the national team at a multi-sport showpiece.
Earning four medals in track and field, four more in the swimming pool and one in lawn bowls, they rocketed three places up the table to fifth overall with a total of 18 medals including eight gold after five days of competition.
On the track, sprinters Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies scorched to gold and silver in the men’s 100m final, clocking 10.03 and 10.17 respectively.
“It’s been a long time coming to have two South Africans on the podium on the international stage,” Simbine said.
“It’s really great for us to come here and show up.”
Dyan Buis (11.33) and Paralympic champion Charl du Toit (11.35) earned another double, taking silver and bronze in the men’s T37/38 final, with Union Sekailwe finishing fifth in 11.67.
Chad le Clos cruised to his fourth podium place, wrapping up the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly treble by touching first in 50.65 over two lengths.
Breaststroke specialist Cameron van der Burgh stunned world record holder Adam Peaty of England to earn his eighth career Commonwealth medal by snatching 100m gold in 26.58.
“Adam and I have had a really good rivalry, and he’s been able to get on top of me the last couple of years, so to see my national flag up there and hearing my national anthem being played will be one of the highlights of my career,” Van der Burgh said.
Tatjana Schoenmaker was equally impressive, adding 100m breaststroke gold to her 200m title, stopping the clock at 1:06.41 to break Penny Heyns’ 19-year-old African record of 1:06.52.
“This medal is amazing. I didn’t think I’d ever medal in the 100m,” Schoenmaker said.
Earlier in the pool, Christian Sadie earned silver in the men’s S7 freestyle in 29.65.
On the bowls green, the women’s fours team of Esme Kruger, Nicolene Neale, Johanna Snyman and Elma Davis went down fighting in an 18-16 defeat to Australia in the playoffs, securing the silver medal.
Elsewhere, the national women’s hockey side beat Wales 2-0, climbing to third place in Pool A. They needed to beat India in their last group match on Tuesday to progress to the semifinals and keep their medal hopes alive.