The University of Johannesburg’s sporting representatives brought four medals home with them when they returned from the African Games in Congo this week. The competitors did the university proud, collecting a gold, two silvers and a bronze in the three-week continental tournament. Leading the pack was UJ high jumper Kabelo Kgosiemang, whose leap of 2.25m was enough to secure the top step of the podium for Botswana.
Gymnast Claudia Cummins vaulted to silver, while swimmer Kelly Gunnell also bagged the runner-up spot in the 200m breast stroke. Jaco Engelbrecht’s bronze medal for shot put completed their medal tally. According to UJ sports manager Francois Fouché, the institution was proud of their successes but had been hoping for a few more medal-winning performances: ‘We have very high standards, and we are used to better. I understand that some of our athletes had to withdraw from their events for variety of reasons, but I believe we had the potential to bring more medals home.’ He said the fact that the IAAF World Championships and the African Games had been held a matter of weeks apart could have impacted on their performances: ‘While we believe a better result was possible, we will take many positive points from out athletes’ performances.’
Triple jumper Roger Haitengi just missed the podium with his leap of 16.4m for Namibia, while Zinzi Chabangu grabbed fifth place in the women’s event with a 13.00m jump. Fouché praised Chabangu’s efforts, saying she was still a junior athlete competing at senior level: ‘She’s a young star who still has a bright future ahead.’ He said the African Games had provided UJ with an opportunity to review their strategy in terms of preparing athletes for international competition: ‘At this stage it is probably too late for the 2016 Olympics, but we are definitely looking forward to the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 Commonwealth Games. If we focus on our key disciplines and develop the current and incoming talent, we could have some very successful campaigns in the coming years.’