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Incentives for Commonwealth Games medallists and record-breakers

08 June 2022 - 17:08
Tatjana Schoenmaker, seen here posing with her Olympic gold medal, won the breaststroke double at the last Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Tatjana Schoenmaker, seen here posing with her Olympic gold medal, won the breaststroke double at the last Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Image: Giorgio Scala/BSR Agency/Getty Images

In an unprecedented move, SA athletes winning Commonwealth Games medals in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8 are to receive incentives.

Deputy sport minister Nocawe Mafu made the disclosure at the announcement of the first batch of the team in Johannesburg on Wednesday. 

“Anybody who breaks a record will be rewarded double double,” she added, without stipulating if she was referring to world records or Games records. She also didn’t give a value for medal incentives. 

When they’ve been on offer, incentives have been restricted to the Olympic Games and Paralympic medallists, never for Commonwealth. But if the government is thinking of keeping the Tokyo 2020 price tag of R450,000 for gold, R220,000 for silver and R100,000 medallists, plus extra for their coaches, it could get expensive. 

Since 1998 Team SA has won between 33 and 46 medals each edition of the Commonwealth Games, while the combined haul for the last three Olympics and Paralympics has ranged from 10 to 35. 

The SA team that will compete in Birmingham would feature more women than men, said chef de mission Lwandile Simelane, though she was unable to give a demographic breakdown because other teams have yet to be announced, like athletics and the men’s hockey outfit. 

The SA track and field side is competing at the African championships in Mauritius this week. 

The deputy minister commented on the lack of transformation among the athletes who gathered on the stage at Olympic House in Johannesburg, who included Olympic breaststroke queen Tatjana Schoenmaker and one of swimming’s future stars, Pieter Coetzé, a schoolboy who is targeting medals in England. 

Mafu, pointing out that Durban had initially been picked to host the 2022 Games before losing it, said Team SA should finish in the top two of the medals table. That’ll be a tough ask for a team that has bounced from fifth to seventh over the past six Games, finishing sixth last time out at Gold Coast 2018. 

That’s also a tough ask for a team whose financial support, at least for the Olympic and Paralympic codes, has faded substantially in the past decade.

Even so, there was a clear air of optimism among the athletes who were among the 16 codes named on Wednesday. 

Schoenmaker was confident about SA’s chances of getting two swimmers into each of the three women’s breaststroke podiums in Birmingham. Stablemate Kaylene Corbett, who finished fifth in the 200m behind her in Tokyo, will be a contender in the long race, while newcomer Lara van Niekerk has the potential to do damage in the 50m and 100m races alongside Schoenmaker. 

“I definitely think we have a good chance in having all two girls on the podium for all our events,” said Schoenmaker. “It could be a very good gala. We don’t put that pressure on ourselves, we’re just going to give our best, but I just have a feeling our best is going to be really good.”

Two of SA’s boxers, Simnikiwe Bongco and Phiwokuhle Mnguni, are looking to change their code’s flagging fortunes, winning only one medal at the past three Games compared to six, including a gold, at the previous three from 1998 to 2006.  

“I’m going for gold,” said Bongco. “We have a tradition of good boxers in Duncan Village [in East London], but I’ll be the first one to ever go to the Commonwealth Games. It’s time to make history.”

They were confident they could handle the pressure of living up to expectations. “We can handle pressure,” said Mnguni, from Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal. “We have to improve ourselves.”

The SA women’s hockey team has had a tough time of late, but Phumi Mbande, co-captain alongside Bernadette Coston, said they were upbeat after the recent return of former coach Giles Bonnet. 

“I think there’s a lot of excitement because Giles brings so much experience, so much knowledge. He’s come at a time when players really need inspiration and belief in ourselves. He’s out to get results and he really does find a way of bringing the best out of the teams he works with,” she said, adding that Lisa-Marie Deetlefs had come back from retirement to work again with Bonnet.  

“Even though we aren’t centralised we’re training like we’re going to make top six in the world. He instils a lot of go hard, give hard you’ll get the results at the end.”

Netball skipper Bongi Msomi said it was time to reach the medals, especially with the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town looming. 

“Comm Games is a step to see how far we are. We want to finish on a podium at World Cup, we have to finish on a podium at Comm Games. It’s to go there, put out some great performances and finish on a podium just to prepare for what’s next. I definitely think we’re capable but it will take a lot of hard work.”

At the 2019 World Cup her team narrowly lost a couple of key games. “There are a few times where we’ve been close enough, we just haven’t been finishing the games. The idea this time about is to be close and to finish.”

The total team size, including support staff, is expected to be 300. 

The batch of Team SA announced on Wednesday is:

BEACH VOLLEYBALL Men: Leo Williams, Grant Goldschmidt Coach: Loet Groenewald

BOXING Men: Amzolele Dyeyi,  Simnikiwe Bongco Women: Phiwokuhle Sbusisiwe Coaches: Nkosinathi Hlatshwayo, Moneen Brits

CRICKET Women: Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Maria Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Shabnim Ismail, Chloe Tryon Mignon van der Merwe (Du Preez), Dane van Niekerk, Laura Wolvaardt, Andrie Steyn, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Delmari Tucker Officials: Hilton Moreeng, Sedibu Mohlaba, Pokie Ramoadi, Zane Webster, Dillon du Preez

CYCLING Men: Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, Darryl Impey, Gustav Basson, Nicholas Dlamini, Morne van Niekerk, Alan Hatherly Women: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Hayley Preen, Francis Janse van Rensburg, Mariske Strauss, Candice Lill Officials: Jean-Pierre Jacobs, Alasdair Garnett, Gary Blem

GYMNASTICS Women: Caitlin Rooskrantz, Naveen Daries, Mammule Rankoe, Shante Koti, Garcelle Napier Officials: Ilse Pelser, Leeland Christian

HOCKEY Women: Bernadette Coston, Bianca Wood, Edith Molikoe, Erin Christie, Hannah Pearce, Hanrie Louw, Jean-Leigh du Toit, Kristen Paton, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Lillian du Plessis, Maboloke Serage, Marizen Marais, Onthatile Zulu, Phumelela Mbande, Quanita Bobbs, Robyn Johnson, Shirndre-Lee Simmons, Tarryn Lombard Officials: Giles Bonnet, Lynn Abrahams, Lenise Marais, Nelson Komane-Nel

JUDO Women: Michaela Whitebooi, Charné Griesel, Donné Breytenbach Men: Thomas Breytenbach Coach: Nikola Filipov

LAWN BOWLS Men: Petrus Breitenbach, Jason Evans, Prince Neluonde, Wayne Rittmuller, Bradley Robinson Women: Bridget Calitz, Esme Kruger, Elinah Muvhango, Colleen Piketh, Johanna Snyman, Jessica Henderson Officials: Susanna Nel, Neil Burkett

NETBALL Women: Khanyisa Chawane, Izette Griesel, Boitumelo Mahloko, Phumza Maweni, Tshinakaho Mdau, Bongiwe Msomi, Lenize Potgieter, Lefebre Rademan, Monique Reyneke, Nicola Smith, Nichole Taljaard, Elmeré van der Berg, Shadine van der Merwe, INE-Marí Venter, Zanele Vimbela Officials: Dorette Badenhorst, Dumisani Chauke, Nicole Cusack, Nisha Rupnarain

PARA LAWN BOWLS Women: Victoria van der Merwe, Tracy Smith, Desiree Levin, Johanna van Rooyen (director) Men: Deon van der Vyver, Harmanus Scholtz, Willem Viljoen, Thomas Smith (director) Coach: Geoffrey Newcombe

PARA ATHLETICS Men: Jaco Smit, Jonathan Ntutu, Charl du Toit, Ernst van Dyk Women: Mandilene Hoffmann, Yane van der Merwe, Sheryl James Coaches: Jason Sewanyana, Daniel Damon Manager: Cornelia Swanepoel

RUGBY SEVENS Women: Donelle Snyders, Alichia Arries, Felicia Jacobs, Bianca Augustyn, Luleka Tyibilika, Snenhlanhla Shozi, Mathrin Simmers, Asisipho Plaatjies, Anacadia Minnaar, Unathi Mali, Liske Lategan, Kemisetso Baloyi, Kyla de Vries, Nontuthuko Shongwe, Faith Gosling, Zandile Masuku, Thandiswa Nxomani Officials: Paul Delport, Sandile Ngcobo, Michele van Rooyen

Men: Sakoyisa Makata, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Angelo Davids, JC Pretorius, Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown, Jordan Hendrikse, Dewald Human, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Muller du Plessis, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Christie Grobbelaar, Ruhan Nel, Seabelo Senatla, Manie Libbok Officials: Neil Powell, Ashley Evert, Renfred Dazel, Ghafour Lukhan

SWIMMING Men: Chad le Clos, Matthew Sates, Michael Houlie, Pieter Coetze, Dante Nortje, Andrew Ross, Guy Brooks, Brenden Crawford Women: Emma Chelius, Kaylene Corbett, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Lara van Niekerk, Aimee Canny, Rebecca Meder, Erin Gallagher, Dune Coetzee, Olivia Nel, Michaela Pulford

Men’s Para: Christian Sadie Women’s Para: Cornelle Leach, Alani Ferreira

Coaches: Rocco Meiring, Wayne Riddin, Eugene Da Ponte, Theo Verster Manager: Julie Cassim

TABLE TENNIS Men: Theo Cogill, Shaun Jones, Cheetan Nathoo, Kirshwin Steyn Women: Danisha Patel, Musfiquh Kalam, Lailaa Edwards, Zodwa Maphanga Coach: Omar Zain Eddin

TRIATHLON Men: Henri Schoeman, Jamie Riddle, Nicholas Quenet Women: Simone Ackermann, Shanae Williams, Hannah Newman

PARA TRIATHLON Men: David Jones, Gavin Kilpatrick, Casper Moodie (guide), Rohan Kennedy (guide) Women: Linsay Engelbrecht, Trish Heimann (guide) Coaches: Riana Robertson, Lindsay Parry, Vukile Makeleni

WEIGHTLIFTING Men: Jon-Antohein Phillips, Ruben Burger, Nathan Eli Morris Women: Anneke Spies Coach: Lyle du Plooy

WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL Men: Allen Mtatase, Cecil Dumond, Ayabonga Jim, Simanga Mbhele, Women: Aviwe Ngoni, Samkelisiwe Mbatha, Michelle Moganedi, Kelebogile Moeng Coaches: Ntombizile Mthombeni, Gerhard Smith