SA juniors Kyle McClatchie and Kaleigh Telfer joined other young Olympians at the send-off celebrations for the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Johannesburg on Monday. The 50-strong Team SA departed for China this morning where they will join more than 5,000 athletes from around the globe for the games in Nanjing. The South African contingent will campaign in 14 of the 30 sporting codes presented at this year’s Youth Games, where golf will make its Olympic debut on 19 August.
McClatchie and Telfer will first compete in the 54-Hole Boys and Girls Stroke Play tournaments at the Nanjing Zhongshan International Golf Club. Following the individual competitions, the duo will combine South Africa at the same venue in the Mix Gender Team event from 24-26 August. The sport has drawn a male and female team from 32 countries.
South Africa, Swaziland, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela will represent the southern hemisphere, while Great Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Spain are among the European entries. The east will be represented by Japan, China, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, the Nordic nations feature Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, while a team from the Cook Islands will also debut in Nanjing. The Summer Youth Olympic Games marks Telfer from Gauteng’s first appearance on Team SA, while McClatchie is among a large group of athletes who already competed in the green and gold at the second Africa Youth Games in Botswana in June.
The Ekurhuleni junior claimed gold in the Boys Tournament and added another gold to South Africa’s 90-plus medal tally by leading the four-man SA golf team to victory in the Teams event at Gaborone Golf Club. The two juniors were very excited about their imminent departure. “It’s finally happening and we are both so incredibly proud, excited and honoured to represent South Africa for the first time in an Olympic event,” said Telfer.
McClatchie agreed, saying at this stage it was hard to distinguish between nerves and excitement, “This whole thing is huge and definitely the biggest thing to ever happen to Kaleigh and me. We are really excited, but also nervous. We just want to get to China and get going.” Telfer and McClatchie are travelling to Nanjing in the capable hands of Southern Cape’s Gavin Reynold. The club captain at Mossel Bay Golf Club and a member of the South African Golf Association Executive was appointed as the code manager for golf.
In addition to golf, the South African juniors will also compete in aquatics, athletics, canoeing, equestrian, gymnastics, hockey, judo, sailing, shooting, swimming, tennis, triathlon and wrestling.
Photo: Team SA
Photo credit: Wessel Pretorius / SASPA