Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Daryl Impey beaming with pride after snatching Games medal

Impey was full of praise for teammate Morne van Niekerk, who set him up for the sprint.

Having recovered from Covid in time to take part, road cyclist Daryl Impey was relieved to deliver for the national team at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday.

Impey snatched the silver medal in the men’s road race, taking second place in a late sprint as he crossed the line just behind Aaron Gate of New Zealand.

ALSO READ: De Lange wrestles his way to silver for Team SA at Commonwealth Games

While the 37-year-old rider had previously earned two medals in the team time trial at the World Championships, he was representing his professional outfit in those races and not the national squad, and he was the first African rider to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, also for his pro team.

The last time he stepped on the podium at a major event for the South African team was at the 2006 African Championships in Mauritius, where he grabbed bronze in the individual time trial.

“I just had to keep on for the Games and for the second half of the season (after testing positive for Covid), with the Vuelta a Espana coming up now, so it was a huge let-down,” Impey said.

“But it’s nice to finally get a medal at such a prestigious event for South Africa. I’m always happy to represent the country with pride.”

Team effort

Impey was full of praise for his national teammates, with Morne van Niekerk playing a key role as he helped set him up for the sprint.

“We had a super team today. We were down on numbers compared to other teams, and we had some younger guys with less experience, but they rode like champs,” he said.

“It was really nice to have Morne with me. He did an amazing job, and there at the end I was just telling him to calm down so we could run with the guys on the finish line, and he did that perfectly.”

ALSO READ: Swimmers stick up their hands for SA team ahead of Paris Olympics

The SA team were lying ninth in the overall standings with 27 medals (seven gold, nine silver and 11 bronze) ahead of Monday’s final day of competition at the multi-sport Games.

The national men’s hockey side had the squad’s last chance to secure a medal, facing hosts England in the bronze playoff at 10am on Monday morning.

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