Six medal contenders named in second Olympic team announcement

25 June 2021 - 09:37
By David Isaacson
Wayde van Niekerk wins the senior men's 200m final at the ASA Senior Track and Field National Championships at Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on April 17, 2021.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images Wayde van Niekerk wins the senior men's 200m final at the ASA Senior Track and Field National Championships at Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on April 17, 2021.

Wayde van Niekerk, Chad le Clos, Lawrence Brittain and John Smith headlined the second batch of 69 athletes added to the Tokyo-bound Team SA on Thursday night.

Van Niekerk, who qualified only on Saturday, swimmer Le Clos and rower Smith all have Olympic gold medals from past Games, while Brittain, who will partner Smith in the men’s four, owns a silver and the Blitz Boks and triathlete Henri Schoeman a bronze each. 

Throw in surfer Jordy Smith and this batch features no fewer than six of SA’s medal hopes at the Tokyo showpiece from July 24 until August 8.

A total of nine disciplines were named as part of the launch of SABC Sport’s 24-hour channel, but swimming was the only one where coaches and team officials were not included, strengthening the claim that the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) was still looking into allegations of sexual abuse levelled against one of them.

Sascoc’s acting CEO Ravi Govender declined to comment, saying more swimmers were still to be added to the team.

By contrast only three athletes were named — Van Niekerk, Kyle Blignaut (shot put) and Marc Mundell (50km walk) — but that didn’t stop Sascoc from naming the code’s coaches and management.

The bulk of the track and field squad will be finalised after the qualifying window ends on Tuesday.

Cyclist Stefan de Bod was listed as the replacement for the injured Daryl Impey, and seven rowers were named in all. The seventh, however, was Leo Davis, a former member of the national squad who qualified in sailing.

The total number of athletes in Team SA so far is 133, just a few short of the record 138 who went to Rio 2016.

Govender expected another 35-odd athletes to be added, including the men’s under-23 football team.

The total number of officials, including medical staff, would be about 80. Medical staff would include psychologists, Govender said.

The teams named on Thursday:

Blitz Boks: Sakoyisa Makata, Dylan Sage, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Angelo Davids, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Stedman Gans

Coaches and management: Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel, Ghafoer Luckan, Ashley Evert

Women’s water polo: Amica Hallenndorff, Shakira January, Meghan Maartens, Chloe Meecham, Georgie Moir, Boati Motau, Hannah Muller, Daniela Passoni, Megan Sileno, Ashleigh Vaughn, Jordan Wedderburn, Kelsey White

Coaches and management: Candice Williams, Delaine Mentor, Duncan Woods

Men’s water polo: Ignardus Badenhorst, Devon Card, Jason Evezard, Cameron Laurenson, Lwzi Madi, Farouk Mayman, Yaseen Margro, Liam Neill, Roarke Olver, Nicholas Rodda, Donn Stewart, Ross Stone

Coaches and management: Rowen Meth, Paul Martin, Vaughan Marlow

Swimming: Tatjana Schoenmaker, Kaylene Corbett, Emma Chelius, Erin Gallagher, Ethan du Preez, Chad le Clos, Pieter Coetze, Bradley Tandy, Michael Houlie, Matthew Sates,  Women’s 4x100m medley relay (Mariella Venter, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Erin Gallagher, Aimee Canny)

Artistic swimming: Laura Strugnell, Clarissa Johnston

Coaches and management: Vicky Drinkwater

Skateboarding: Melissa Williams, Andre Oberholzer, Boipelo Awuah, Brandon Valjalo

Coach/manager: Wendy Gila

Triathlon: Gillian Sanders, Henri Schoeman, Simon Ackermann, Richard Murray

Coaches and management: Kate Murray, Lindsey Parry

Sailing: Leo Davis

Coach/manager: Victor Davis

Surfing: Jordy Smith

Coach/manager: Isaac February

Rowing: Lawrence Brittain (men’s four), John Smith (men’s four), Sandro Torrento (men’s four), Kyle Schoonbee (men’s four), Jake Green (men’s pair), Luc Daffarn (men’s pair)

Coaches and management: Roger Barrow, Marco Galeone

Athletics: Kyle Blignaut, Marc Mundell, Wayde van Niekerk

Coaches and management: Jean Verster, Hezekiel Sepeng, Paul Gorries, Irma Reyneke, Hendrik Ramaala, Pierre Blignaut, Jennifer Kingwell

Cycling: Stefan de Bod