Emerging international athlete Gontse Morake scooped double gold for South Africa at the African Youth Games last week, to become the African Youth champion in the 400m hurdles and triple jump. Morake will compete at the Youth Olympics Games. South Africa also saw medals follow notable performances from Marissa Swanepoel – who finished the 5km walk first for gold, and Nicole Louw who finished third on the track for bronze in the 1500m.
In a tied match that was celebrated as enthusiastically as a win, SA National Women’s Hockey Team ‘keeper Mpumelela Mbande successfully defended her team’s goal against the best that world no. 3 Argentina could bring, seeing off no less than 14 Penalty Corners to earn the Vitality Player Match Award, in South Africa’s final group-stage match at the Hockey World Cup in London, on Saturday (Watch some of her amazing work in the FIH’s Youtube post below). SA lead the tightly-contested match 1-0 on the stroke of halftime courtesy a brilliant touch by Jade Mckenzie Mayne, and the brave SA keeper defied wave after wave of light blue attacks until Maria Granatto netted from open play to level the scores for a 1-all finish, and SA’s exit from the tournament after finishing bottom of the tournament’s group of death, also including Spain and Germany.
Hats off to the SA 18&U National Women’s Hockey Team, ably lead by new coach Tsoanelo Pholo, who beat comfortably Namibia 2-0 in an Youth Olympic qualifier to finish the African Youth Games unbeaten in seven matches, to win qualification to world event. South Africa’s sternest competition in Algiers came from Zimbabwe, who held SA to a 3-all draw on 20 July, but the SA team was clearly the stand-out squad of the tournament, featuring 40 goals for the team with leading efforts by Angela Welham (with 14 goals to her name) and Kayla de Waal (with 10 goals).