UP students at the Commonwealth Games

Mariesa Potgieter

South African athletes made their mark at the Commonwealth Games which took place in Gold Coast, Australia from 4 to 15 April 2018. Among these South African athletes, the UP students excelled and produced some brilliant results. One of the athletes with stand-out results is the swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker.

Schoenmaker set three new African records by winning the women’s 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:06:41, the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:22:02 and by coming fourth in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 00:30:82. She is the first South African female swimmer to win a gold medal in eight years. The UP athletes had some brilliant performances in the athletics. Akani Simbine, who graduated recently, won the 100m finals and beat the competition favourite, Yohan Blake, from Jamaica. Simbine finished with a time of 00:10:02 and is the first South African male to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games for the men’s 100m. Wenda Nel made South African athletics history when she earned a bronze in the 400m hurdles with a time of 00:54:96. She is the first South African female to earn a podium finish in a longer hurdles event at a major international competition. Clarence Munyai competed in the 200m final and finished fourth with a time of 00:20:58. He recently broke the South African 200m record with a time of 00:19:69 at the South African National Championship.

Constant Pretorius put in a good effort in the 400m hurdles with a time of 00:49:71 placing fourth in his heat, despite not qualifying for the final. Chris-Marie Van Wyk competed in the Rhythmic Gymnastics and succeeded by qualifying for the individual all-around finals and placing 16th overall.

Perdeby asked Van Wyk how she felt about her performance in the final compared to her performance in the preliminary round. Van Wyk said, “I was very nervous for my preliminary round and felt desperate to prove to myself that I belong at the Commonwealth Games.” When Van Wyk got the news that she qualified for the finals, she said she felt “ecstatic” for having achieved a childhood dream. “Although my last routine was not clean, I had the most fun”, she said. Bongani Von Bodenstein proudly represented South Africa in Badminton despite not making it further than the first round. Speaking to Perdeby, he said, “The experience was breathtaking, purely magical. I’m incredibly thankful to God that I was able to represent my country and compete at the Commonwealth Games.”

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