Following a superb weekend for South African sport, with athletes in various sports opening their 2019 campaigns in style, we take a look back at some of the highlights.
Two nights in a row, the national side had fans on the edge of their seats with thrilling performances at the English leg of the
After putting up a brave fight against world champions Australia the week before, they earned a 48-45 victory over Commonwealth Games gold medallists England on Saturday, racking up their first win over the Roses on their turf in 19 years.
Returning to the court on Sunday, the Proteas produced another spectacular performance against world No 2 New Zealand. Aiming for their first win over the Silver Ferns in 24 years, they took the game to sudden death extra time and were edged out in a narrow 62-60 defeat, signalling their potential ahead of the World Cup in Liverpool in July.
“I am very proud of them. We have beaten England before, but it is particularly good to know that we have beaten the Commonwealth Games gold medallists. The players fronted up against England and gave as much as they got.”Proteas coach Norma Plummer
Successfully defending his crown at the Tour Down Under, Impey became the first man to win back-to-back titles at the annual World Tour race.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider achieved three podium places at the six-day contest, including a victory on the 129km fourth stage, holding off Australian rider Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) by 13 seconds to finish top of the standings in the general classification.
Another South African rider, Ryan Gibbons, also did well for local team Dimension Data, finishing among the top 10 on two stages to take 11th place overall.
“It’s special to go back to back. I never dreamed to come here and win twice in a row. Every year we come here with strong ambitions. I knew the competition was always tough. I just believed in myself and it was fantastic to pull it off.”Daryl Impey
While Kevin Anderson and Lloyd Harris were eliminated in the early stages of the Australian Open, Klaasen kept South Africa’s hopes alive in the main draw of the year’s first Grand Slam.
Turning out with regular partner Michael Venus of New Zealand, the No 6 seeds coasted through the first three rounds, progressing to the second week of the top-flight tournament.
Klaasen and Venus were gearing up to face Argentine player Leonardo Mayer and Portuguese partner Joao Sousa on Tuesday for a place in the semifinals.
“I think that we are getting sharper as the week goes, and hopefully we can build on this… hopefully we can push to get deep into the second week this time around.”Raven Klaasen