Tough weekend for SA at Olympics
30 July 2012
While Cameron van der Burgh captured the headlines by winning Olympic gold in the men's 100 metres breaststroke on Sunday, the rest of South Africa's Olympic athletes found the going tough as the first weekend of the London Games drew to a close.
There were some good performances in the pool that were not quite good enough for medals.
Chad le Clos won his semi-final in the 4 by 100 individual medley in a South African record of 4 minutes, 12.24 seconds, as American legend Michael Phelps sneaked into the final with the eighth best time.
In the final, Le Clos had to settle for fifth in 4:12.42 as American Ryan Lochte destroyed his challengers with a stunning swim. Phelps placed fourth.
4 by 100m freestyle relay
In the 4 by 100m freestyle relay, South Africa finished second in their heat to reach the final with the seventh best time. The team of Gideon Louw, Graeme Moore, Darian Townsend and Roland Schoeman then placed fifth in the final in 3:13.45 as France came from behind to overhaul the USA to claim the gold.
Suzaan van Biljoen reached the semi-finals of the women's 100m breaststroke. She finished second in her heat in 1:07.54 to book her place in the semis and then clocked 1:07.68 to match the time of former South African Olympian Sarah Poewe, who now swims for Germany. Unfortunately, she missed out on the final by 0.20 seconds.
Kathryn Meaklim, Riaan Schoeman, Charl Crous and Wendy Trott all missed out on the semi-finals in their events.
In rowing, the men's lightweight fours team of Matthew Brittain, Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith and James Thompson placed second in their heat to qualify for the semi-finals, which take place at Eton Dorney on Tuesday. They'll be up against Italy, China, France, Denmark and Australia for a place in the final.
Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Persse, competing in the women's pairs, placed fourth in their heat, leaving them to contest the repechage round on Monday.
The women's hockey team ran into an on-form Argentina in their opening match, losing 7-1 in a game in which the bounce of the ball favoured the world champions, for whom seven-time International Hockey Federation Player of the Year, Luciana Aymar, starred.
Banyana Banyana suffered their second defeat in the women's football competition, as some lax defence cost them in a 3-0 loss to world number seven Canada. It gets no easier for the team as they next take on World Cup winners and world number three Japan.
Boxer Ayabonga Sonjica lost 15-6 to Bulgaria's Detelin Dalakiev in the first round of the bantamweight competition, while Alex Peternell struggled to 36th place in the dressage section of the individual eventing competition.
In the badminton competition, the men's doubles team of Dorian James and Willem Viljoen lost 21-6, 21-12 to the strong Danish pair of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogenson, while the women's pair of Michelle Edwards and Anneri Viljoen fell 21-8 21-7 to South Korea's Jung Eun Ha and Min Jung Kim.
Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt lost 2-0 to the USA's Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal in their first Group D outing of the beach volleyball competition.
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