South Africa’s team to take on the world at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland was announced with great fanfare at Olympic House on Wednesday, 11 June. An initial squad of 155 of the country’s finest athletes has been named, spread over 15 codes, from aquatics to wrestling. With the men’s and women’s hockey teams currently still doing battle at the World Cup in the Netherlands, the names for this code will be named on completion of that event.
Sporting codes that Team South Africa will contest at the Games (from 23 July to 3 August) are the following: aquatics (including para-swimming), athletics (including para-athletics), badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, judo, lawn bowls, netball, para-powerlifting, rugby sevens, shooting, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling. Announcing the squad SASCOC President Gideon Sam said, “Today is yet another exciting day in the ongoing story of South African sport. Our athletes from around the country have responded magnificently to our strict criteria if we look at the size of this team. The majority of the team are within the top five rankings of the Commonwealth and that is very reassuring for us, because it gives us the confidence to look forward to a really good team at the next Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, come 2016. We are also accommodating some promising juniors in the team as we believe that they will be ready to fight for a place in the Olympic team for Brazil. Hopefully, this will put an end to the often nasty debates around criteria for teams representing our country. Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula always talks about rewarding excellence and not mediocrity and we have been guided by him in this regard. We simply can’t afford to take any so-called ‘joyriders’ to multi-coded sport competitions. Glasgow is going to be tough but also great fun. Our athletes will gain tremendously from these Games and judging by the teams already announced by Australia and Canada, it won’t be a walk in the park for any one country. Our team is a well balanced team and if the coaches have put in the necessary hard work, we should once again be in the top group of medal winners, just as we have done at previous Games.” At the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India four years ago, Team South Africa won 33 medals to end joint fifth on the medals table with 12 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals.
SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy also wished the team well, “I think this team is extremely well balanced and has been chosen with our strict selection criteria in mind. This is a team of established stars with proven medal-winning potential, but at the same time bearing in mind that we have to blood some of our future stars on the international scene. I have no doubt that this team is capable of matching if not improving on our medal return four years ago in India.” The team boasts a rich spread of both Olympic and Commonwealth Games experience as well as stars of the future.
The swimming squad includes timeless Roland Schoeman, a veteran of four Olympic Games. The line-up also includes 2012 Olympic gold medallists Cameron Van Der Burgh and Chad Le Clos. Some swimmers like, Myles Brown and Marne Erasmus are products of the SA team at Zone VI Games as far back as 2010.
Track and field includes 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games 400-metres hurdles medallist LJ van Zyl and sprinter Simon Magakwe, who earlier this year set a South African 100m record of 9.98 seconds. Paralympian medallist Fanie Van Der Merwe is also in the team. Badminton includes 2012 Olympians as well as some upcoming players currently on tour in Nigeria and Mauritius in a bid to boost their world ranking.
London Olympians Ayabonga Sonjica and Siphiwe Lusizi are in the boxing squad that also includes 2011 All Africa Games contestant and recent Zone IV champion Paul Schafer. Cycling has London Olympian Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, currently racing in Europe, and Lise Olivier (2011 All Africa Games time trial winner) as well as London Olympian track ace Bernard Esterhuizen and 2012 World Championships silver medallist Nolan Hoffman. Gymnastics includes former Commonwealth Youth Games competitor Kirsten Beckett, who was one of the baton-bearers at the Queen’s Baton Relay in South Africa earlier this year.
Jacques Van Zyl, part of Team SA at the London Olympics is included in the judo squad, as is rising star Siyabulela Mabulu. The coach in this sport is Vincent Redpath who was at the recent African Youth Games in Botswana, serving in a technical capacity. Lawn bowls includes a number of medal winners from the previous Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India and it is expected that this code will once again win medals for Team South Africa.
The netball team is also a mix of experience and youth with at least one player, Melissa Myburgh, having represented South Africa at the 2010 Zone VI Games and having now made the step up to the highest level. Rugby Sevens has brought back medals from the last two Commonwealth Games and with this code now part of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the Glasgow Games are an important part of preparation. In the weightlifting code, Mona Pretorius was part of Team SA at the last Commonwealth Games but injured herself in the warm-up.
Team SA will enter a holding camp in Johannesburg on 14 July and leave for the Games on 16 July.
TEAM SOUTH AFRICA
Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos, Bradley Tandy, Dylan Bosch, Myles Brown, Sebastien Rousseau, Roland Schoeman, Leith Shankland, Caydon Muller, Clayton Jimmie, Calvyn Justus, Darren Murray, Tara-lynn Nicholas, Karin Prinsloo, Erin Gallagher, Trudi Maree, Marne Erasmus, Rene Warnes, Marlies Ross, Jessica Ashley-Cooper
Management: Shawn Adriaanse (manager), Coaches: Graham Hill, Cedric Finch, Igor Omeltchenko, Wayne Riddin Para-swimming: Craig Groenewald.
Manager/coach: Theo Verster
Simon Magakwe, Akani Simbine, Wayde van Niekerk, Andre Olivier, Johan Cronje, LJ van Zyl, Cornel Fredericks, Zarck Visser, Ruswahl Samaai, Khotso Mokoena, Orazio Cremona, Rocco van Rooyen, Willem Coertzen, Fredriech Pretorius, Sunette Viljoen, Wenda Nel, Hendrico Bruintjies, Shawn De Jager, Victor Hogan, Anaso Jobodwana
Management: Motlatsi Keikabile, Coaches: Brandon Du Plessis, Carl Preller
Para-athletics: Fanie van der Merwe, Charl du Toit, Andrea Dalle Ave, Juanelie Meijer, Lean Simon.
Management: Karin le Roux (Manager/coach), Coach: Suzanne Ferreira
Willem Viljoen, Andries Malan, Jacob Maliekal, Prakash Vijaynath, Jennifer Fry, Sandra le Grange, Elsie de Villiers.
Management: Stewart Carson (Manager/Coach)
Ayabonga Sonjica, Thulani Mbenge, Siphiwe Lusizi, Luvuyo Sizani, Paul Schafer, Pathiswa Thingana.
Management: Nkosinathi Hlatshwayo (coach), Johan Prinsloo (Manager/Coach)
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Cherise Stander, Heidi Dalton, Lise Olivier, Anriette Schoeman, Andri Coetzee, Bernard Esterhuizen, Nolan Hoffman, Evan Carstens, Theuns vd Bank, Kellan Gouveris, Oupa Maluleke, Morne Van Niekerk, Mariske Strauss, Phillip Buys
Management: Brett Coates, (Manager/MTB coach), Coaches: Dean Edwards (Road/Time Trial), Elrick Kulsen (Coach-Track), Ruan Lochner (Mechanic)
Kirsten Beckett, Claudia Cummins, Bianca Mann, Cameron MacKenzie, Tiaan Grobler, Siphamandla Ngcobo, Siphesihle Biyase, Grace Legote, Aimee van Rooyen, Julene van Rooyen.
Management: Ilse Laing (Manager/coach), Coaches: Tatiana Lavrentchouk-Vizer , Jesse Abraham Kitzen-Abelson
Men’s and women’s sides to be announced after completion of the World Cup in the Netherlands. Daniel le Grange, Siyabulela Mabulu, Jacques van Zyl, Zack Piontek, Tobie Snyman, Sinothando Mva.
Management: Ina van den Heever, (Manager), Vintcent Redpath (Coach)
Colleen Piketh, Tracy-Lee Botha, Susanna Nel, Susanna Steyn, Esme Steyn, Robert Donnelly, Gerald Baker, Josephus Jacobs, Jason Evans, Mmboniseni Neluonde
Para-bowls: Gyndolene Nel, Hermanus Scholtz, Geoffrey Newcombe, Johanna van Rooyen, Derrick Lobban, Roger Hagerty, Deon van de Vyver.
Management: Jessica Henderson (Manager), Martinus Fraser (Coach), Brian Sneag (Manager/para-bowls)
Adele Niemand, Bongiwe Msomi, Chrisna Bootha, Erin Burger, Lenize Potgieter, Karla Mostert, Kefiloe Tsotsetsi, Maryka Holtzhausen, Melissa Myburgh, Precious Mthembu, Zanele Mdodana, Zanele Vimbela.
Management: Kitiana Lekalakala (Manager)
Coaches: Elizabeth Kotze (coach), Ilze Pheiffer
Management: Jan Flemming (Manager/Coach)
Chris Dry, Schalk Brits, Frankie Horne, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Cheslin Kolbe, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Bryan Habana, Seabelo Senatla, Cornal Hendricks, Warren Whitley
Management: Ashley Evert (Manager)
Coaches: Neil Powell, Allan Temple Jones
Alexander Coetzee, Johannes du Toit, Esmari van Reenen.
Management: Bernand de Beer (Manager /Coach)
Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman, Wian Sullwald, Kate Roberts, Gillian Sanders.
Manager: Lindsey Parry (Manager/Coach)
Portia Vries, Mona Pretorius, Anrich Phillips, Greg Shushu, Gordon Shaw.
Management: Aveenash Pandoo (Manager/Coach)
Bokang Masunyane, Marno Plaatjes, Terry van Rensburg, Gerald Meyer, Armando Hietbrink, Adem Digovich, Mpho Madi, Jeannie-Marie Coetzer, Norma Gordon, Zumicke Geringer, Refilwe Molongwane.
Management: Nico Coetzee (Manager/Coach), Esta van Zyl (Coach)