Blast from the past: Tshabalala fries the opposition to win French Open

Today in SA sport history: May 9

08 May 2024 - 21:21
By David Isaacson
Vincent Tshabalala wins the 1976 French Open title by two strokes from Spain’s Salvador Balbuena.
Image: Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images TRAIL BLAZER Vincent Tshabalala wins the 1976 French Open title by two strokes from Spain’s Salvador Balbuena.

1953 — Olympic bronze medallist Willie Toweel makes his debut as a professional boxer, beating Jackie O’Connor on points over four rounds at the Wembley Stadium in Johannesburg. Toweel, brother of world champion Vic, would go on to win SA titles in four classes from bantamweight to welterweight.

1976 — Vincent Tshabalala, a former motor mechanic based in Soweto, wins his first international golf tournament, taking the French Open title by two strokes. He fired a final-round 67 to finish on 16-under-par 272. He won R5,712 as well as a goat from the West Rand Bantu Golf Union. Spain’s Salvador Balbuena was second, with Simon Hobday, Sam Torrance and Neil Coles four shots behind Tshabalala.    

1977 — Peter “Terror” Mathebula meets Joe Ngidi junior for the fourth and final time, putting his black South African flyweight title on the line. Mathebula, leading Ngidi 2-1, wins when the challenger quits in the seventh round of their contest at the West Ridge tennis stadium in Durban. Mathebula would become the first black South African to win a world title three years later.

2001 — South Africa take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match ODI series against the West Indies, beating the hosts by seven wickets in Bridgetown. Brian Lara top-scored with 92 from 125 deliveries as the West Indies were bowled out for 199. Jacques Kallis took 4/22 and Allan Donald 3/41. In reply, Herschelle Gibbs hit 107 from 132 balls as South Africa raced to victory in the 42nd over. Boeta Dippenaar, batting at four, struck an unbeaten 42. The West Indies had not lost a fully fledged ODI tour on home soil since going down 1-4 against Australia in 1991.