ATHLETICS SOUTH AFRICA NPC
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For Immediate Release
30 August 2019
LINKS WINS SOUTH AFRICA’S LONE ATHLETICS GOLD AT AFRICAN GAMES – final day
High jumper Mpho Links filled the top step of the podium on Friday, securing the South Africa’s only gold medal in athletics on the fifth and final day of the Track and Field competition at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Links sailed over the bar at 2.20m, wrapping up a convincing victory, while 19-year-old Breyton Poole earned bronze after achieving a height of 2.15m. The duo were separated by Kenyan opponent Mathew Sawe, who cleared 2.15m to snatch the silver medal, edging Poole on count back.
With the national squad again showcasing their depth, the athletics team raked in six more medals, closing their campaign with a total of 17 in the bag made of one gold, six silvers and 10 bronze.
Ischke Senekal added the shot put silver to the discus throw bronze she had bagged the day before, producing a best heave of 16.18m, while compatriot Meike Strydom landed the shot at 14.64m to take third position. Nigerian athlete Oyesade Olatoye won gold with a 16.61m effort in the opening round.
On the track, sprinter Anaso Jobodwana bagged the bronze medal in the men’s 200m final, completing the half-lap race in 20.56, with Zambian athlete Sydney Siame taking the win in 20.35.
The national men’s 4x400m relay squad took second place in the final. The quartet, consisting of Ranti Dikgale, Ashley Hlungwani, Derrick Mokaleng and Thapelo Phora, completed the four-lap contest in 3:03.18, after putting up a fight against a strong Botswana team who stormed to victory in 3:02.55.
In a surprise result, world junior champion Zeney van der Walt and Commonwealth Games medallist Wenda Nel both missed out on the podium in the women’s 400m hurdles final.
Van der Walt finished fourth in 57.67, just 0.01 behind Nigerian athlete Abasiamo Akpan who grabbed bronze in a tightly contested battle. Nel settled for sixth place in 58.01 in a race Vanice Nyagisera of Kenya won in 56.95.
“We wanted to hear the South African anthem after the gold medals have been elusive in the first four days of competition and we finally got one through Mpho Links.
“It becomes for us to struggle at this level to take the higher step of the podium, but this competition has proved that you can’t win them all. We are very happy though that we continue to display great depth in track and field in the absence of several top athletes.
“We congratulate all athletes who finished with honours for their contribution to the overall count of medals for Team South Africa which is managed by SACOC,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics SA.
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