After getting off to a wobbly start, the national team recovered well on Sunday, bringing their maiden campaign to a superb close by bagging a medal and snatching two crucial qualifying spots at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama.
Though they were not at their best over Olympic distances, the SA squad shone in the men’s 4x200m final by earning silver behind the United States.
Having clocked 1:20.64 in the morning heats, shattering the 17-year-old African mark of 1:22.06 which had been held by Marcus le Grange, Mathew Quinn, Josef van der Linde and Paul Gorries, the national team went even quicker in the final.
With a line-up featuring Simon Magakwe, Chederick van Wyk, 17-year-old Sinesipho Dambile and Akani Simbine, the quartet put up a solid fight.
And while national 100m record holder Simbine was unable to chase down the American team on the final leg, despite making a valiant effort, he crossed the line in 1:20.42, clipping 0.22 off the continental record which had been set in the opening round by Jon Seeliger, Anaso Jobodwana, Dambile and Van Wyk.
The SA squad completed the two-lap final just 0.30 behind the United States who had lined up as firm favourites.
Earlier, the SA men’s 4x400m relay team took sixth place in the final in 3:05.32, and though they were unable to challenge for the podium, they qualified for the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha later this year.
On Saturday’s opening day of competition, the national men’s 4x100m team had finished fourth in their heat in 38.66.
While they narrowly missed out on a spot in the final, they ended ninth overall, also earning a place in the short sprint relay at the global showpiece.
The national women’s 4x100m team did not finish their heat after Justine Palframan tumbled at a changeover, and her unavailability subsequently forced team management to withdraw the SA 4x400m mixed relay team from the opening round.