Though foreign athletes dominated some of the biggest sports events around the country over the weekend, the local contingent carried the South African flag with pride by challenging for podium places and titles across the board.
We look back on some of the highlights of events held in Olympic codes last week.
National Cycling Champs
Daryl Impey continued to build on his spectacular form in the early stages of the season, retaining his double crown at the SA Road Cycling Championships in Pretoria.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider won the SA men’s time trial title for the eighth time, and he went on to secure his second straight road race title by producing a superb solo effort on Sunday, holding off a charge from a powerful Dimension Data team
“I didn’t think I would be taking the jersey back to Europe just because I had the odds against me. It just shows you it is never over till it’s over. I am backing myself more and it is a great step forward in my career.”Daryl Impey
Triathlon World Cup
While the South African contingent were unable to pick up a medal, they put up solid fights in the elite men’s and women’s races at the Discovery Triathlon World Cup in Cape Town on Sunday.
In the men’s race, Commonwealth champion Henri Schoeman placed himself in early contention with a great swim and stayed with the group on the bike before taking the lead on the run. He was caught, however, by British athlete Alex Yee who went on to win the sprint race in 52:04, with Schoeman slipping to fourth place in 52:21.
In the women’s race, 37-year-old Gillian Sanders delivered a superb performance with a late charge on the run, grabbing fifth place in 58:10. Japanese athlete Ai Ueda broke clear to win the race in 57:23.
“I had no legs on the bike or the run, so it wasn’t my best day, but I picked up some good (ranking) points. I hope I didn’t disappoint the crowd too much, but I gave it my best.”Henri Schoeman
While South African athletes were among the contenders in both the men’s and women’s elite contests, Australian swimmers stole the show at the Midmar Mile in the KZN Midlands on Sunday.
Nick Sloman was in spectacular form, coasting to a convincing victory in the men’s event in 17:01. He was just one second outside the race record held by Chad Ho, holding off runner-up Michael McGlynn (17:28) by nearly half a minute.
Another Australian, Kareena Lee, also earned a commanding win, crossing the line in 18:20, with former winner Michelle Weber leading the local charge by taking second place in 19:26.
“It was a really hard race. I knew I had to go from the start, and you never know if anyone’s on your tail, so you really have to keep the speed up the whole way, and I’m just really excited to get the win.”Kareena Lee