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By Vusi Voetsek

Journalist


Vusi Voetsek: Yes, yes, yes to our wonderful women in sport

From our golden girl in the pool to Banyana Banyana and the netballers, it's been a week of fantastic sporting achievement.


I know I can moan a lot, but it’s normally justified because in this country when you mix sport with politics, and throw everything else into the mix, it doesn’t always produce a very pleasing product.

But I’m not going to moan and complain this week. Enough of that!

This week, I want to celebrate our beautiful women and the way they have uplifted our spirits thanks to their wonderful sporting achievements on the fields, courts and pools around the world.

Our sporting women definitely don’t get the acknowledgement they always deserve, which is something that needs to change considering their inarguable success.

But one thing I can say about South African sporting fans, they love winners and they love it when our women perform well.

We can go back through history a little — from Zola Budd to Frith van der Merwe to Penny Heyns to Caster Semenya, we have produced some wonderful women athletes.

But this last week hit an all-time high for me.

Banyana Banyana

Firstly, Banyana Banyana.

I was so frustrated by their failure to win their opening game of the Women’s World Cup Down Under (they lost 2-1 to Sweden) and then I was even more angry when they only managed a draw with Argentina (2-2). Heck, they should have won both those games.

But, they left their best for last when it really mattered. They knew they had to beat Italy to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout rounds and wow, did they do us proud.

They got a little help with an Italian own goal, but so what; their two other goals were fantastic and they won 3-2 in a real thriller. I was elated, as was the rest of the country.

Girls, you’ve been brilliant, so well done to you all. And Desiree Ellis, you’re fantastic!

The round of 16 match on Sunday against the Netherlands won’t be easy (and hopefully the girls have worked on their defending, especially at the set-pieces), but like they say, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it’! Go for it, we’re all behind you.

Proteas netball team

Then, our netballers.

I must admit I have never been the biggest netball fan, but I’ve enjoyed watching the action in Cape Town at the World Cup.

It’s been riveting stuff and that last second draw against New Zealand during the week was the stuff of legend. It’ll be talked about among those girls for a long time.

Nichole Taljaard
Nichole Taljaard of South Africa in action during the Netball World Cup in Cape Town. Picture: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023

It’s a pity the Proteas didn’t win that game and they’re no longer in the running to win a medal, but they’ve still played superbly well and shown they’re among the top teams in the world.

It’s been a wonderful tournament, so well done to Cape Town and everyone involved.

Finally, Tatjana!

Our golden girl of the pool just keeps on shining. Tatjana Schoenmaker became the first South African to win a gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships this last week, in the 200m breaststroke event; what an achievement.

Tatjana Schoenmaker
Gold medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker poses during the medal ceremony for the women’s 200m breaststroke final at the Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships. Picture: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Next up for Schoenmaker and all our other swimmers will be the Olympics in Paris next year … it should be a good one; I can’t wait.

Enjoy all the sport this weekend, and let’s hope we’ll all be shouting “yes, yes, yes” on Sunday morning when Banyana take on the Netherlands.