Sports Wrap – What’s been happening and what’s coming up in SA Sports
29 July – This week in South African Sports – Guy Mortimer reports on what’s been happening this past week and what’s coming up!
Warren runs down the opposition
Fleet-footed South African athlete Warren Hendricks (pictured) produced a sparkling performance at a Finnish Savo Games meeting in Lainlahti on Saturday when he stormed to victory in the 800m event in a fast 1 min 47.73 secs. It was the 21-year-old’s first win in Europe and his second fastest time within three days after he recorded 1:48.48 when finishing second in another Finnish meeting in Joensuu two weeks ago …
Beijing Olympic silver medal winner Khotso Mokoena beat Brian Johnson of the U.S. by 20cm to notch up a superb win in the long jump at the City Of Barcelona Athletics meeting in the Spanish Olympic Stadium on Saturday night. Mokoena’s distance of 8.29m was more than good enough for victory and the 24-year-old sensation is now looking like a sure bet for a medal in next month’s World Championships in Berlin. Another 24-year-old South African, Peter van der Westhuizen, finished an excellent third in the 1500m race in a quick 3:37.83 and will be competing in this event in Berlin. It was Van der Westhuizen’s third fastest time of his career.
In road running action, former African Marathon champion Johannes Kekana won the Foskor F21 half-marathon, which took place in the small township of Namakgale on the outskirts of Ba-Phalaborwa on Saturday. The 37-year-old South African, who pocketed R21 100 for his win, broke the tap in 63 min and 25 secs to edge out Zimbabwean Wirimai Juwawo by 11 secs. Lesotho’s Mosuhli Moeketsi finished 5 secs adrift of Juwano to take third position.
Meanwhile, in Durban over the weekend, Gauteng’s Rene Kalmer won the 2009 Spar/Sport and Recreation KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Women’s 10km race in 32:27 to claim R5 000 in prize money and top position on the log in the Grand Prix standings. The lean Mr Price runner was closely followed by Annerien van Schalwyk (32:39) with KZN runner Tanith Maxwell a little off the pace in 34:01 for third position.
Vukuza squeaks home against Mbilase
The South African featherweight title was up for grabs at the Orient Theatre in East London on Friday night and the two willing combatants, Thando Vukuza (pictured right) and Manelisi Mbilase, put on a entertaining show for fans with Vukuza prevailing by split decision in a tense battle. Judges Andile Matika (116-114) and Simphiwe Mbini (115-114) scored the fight for Vukuza while judge Lulama Mtya gave the nod to Mbilase 116-114.
Although Vukuza was pronounced the winner it was a fight that could have gone either way with both pugilists having their moments in an entertaining fight. Vukuza (57.15kg) was rocked by powerful right hooks on several occasions from defending champion Mbilase (57.05kg), but weathered the storm to snatch victory by the smallest of margins.
The bout was a re-match of last October’s clash in Carletonville where Mbilase beat Vukuza on a disputed points decision in another tight affair. A third fight between the two game warriors is likely to generate much interest and should fill any venue in the country.
Kachelhoffer triumphs in Engen Challenge
My hometown of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal was the venue for the Engen Dynamic Cycling Challenge on Sunday and the well-organised event lived up to the hype by producing plenty of fast paced action to entertain spectators.
Hanco Kachelhoffer (pictured) won the men’s race in 2 hrs 40 min and 33 secs just ahead of his MedScheme team-mates Wylon Woolcock and Arron Brown while Nashua Telecoms rider An-Li Pretorius triumphed in the women’s event in 2:59:17. ‘The City of Choice’ proved to be a popular location for the event with many riders voicing their approval of the scenic race route.
‘Goose’ pipped at the post by Green
Retief Goosen continued where he left off the previous week at the British Open when he finished runner up to Australian Nathan Green in the 100th Canadian Open in Ontario on Monday. The South African was beaten by Green on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff in the $5.1 million (R40 million) tournament, which extended into the week courtesy of four days of torrential rain, thunderstorms and lightning. Green produced some solid all round golf to thwart the challenge of twice-U.S. Open champion Goosen and record his first PGA Tour win. Goosen finished fifth in the British Open, just two shots off the pace of eventual winner, American Stewart Cink.
Vos and Pitchford power to victory
Donaldson Nissan Navara racers Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford (pictured) notched up their fourth win of the season in the fifth round of the Absa Off Road Championship when they powered to victory in the Production vehicle category on the Sun City 400, which ended in the Pilanesberg on Saturday.
The Nissan duo’s victory ensures they maintain a big lead in this year’s overall and premier SP Class Championships. Privateers Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen took second place in their Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux with former South African champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjöldhammer finishing third in the factory twin turbo diesel Ford Ranger.
Round six of the championship, the Limpopo 400, takes place from 28-29 August.
Boks triumph against All Blacks in fierce clash
The Springboks opened their Tri-Nations account with a hard fought 28-19 win over the mighty All Blacks at a chilly Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday. The Boks were full value for their victory against a determined, never say die All Blacks side that were always dangerous despite a dominant display by the Bok forwards.
The clash was an intensely physical encounter with both sides tearing into each other with frightening intensity. Flyhalf Ruan Pienaar and centre Jean De Villiers both left the field with injuries although they are not reported to be serious. Pienaar’s replacement, Morné Steyn (pictured), took full advantage of his opportunity by kicking three vital penalties to help the Boks to victory.
Pienaar and Jaque Fourie scored a try apiece for the Boks while Frans Steyn slotted two penalties and Pienaar one to round off the scoring for the men in ‘Green and Gold’. The New Zealanders responded with a try by centre Conrad Smith, which was converted by flyhalf Stephen Donald who also added four penalties for a personal tally of 14 points.
The Boks play the All Blacks again this Saturday at the Absa Stadium in Durban in an encounter that promises to be just as exciting as the Bloemfontein clash. Saturday’s win was the perfect start for the Boks in the competition as they hope to win all their home games before embarking on a three match reverse leg in Australia and New Zealand, beginning in Perth on August 29.
Third round Absa Currie Cup Premier Division action saw Griquas record their biggest ever Currie Cup win when they crushed the Boland Cavaliers 80-7 in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon. Griquas scored 12 tries to one against their hapless opponents and on this form would be a handful for even the best of teams.
The Blue Bulls and the Natal Sharks met in a potentially thrilling encounter at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Friday evening, but the on field display by both sides failed to live up to the pre-match hype at the Sharks ran out 19-13 winners in a sloppy match littered with errors.
In the other Friday evening clash Western Province accounted for the Free State Cheetahs by the same score to hand the Bloemfontein outfit their third successive defeat. These are worrying times for the 2007 champions who seem unable to get going in this year’s competition.
The Lions romped to an easy 40-19 win over the Platinum Leopards at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng on Saturday afternoon to complete the last match of the round. The men from Johannesburg had too many guns for the Leopards who, to their credit, never game up trying.
Fourth round action this Friday sees the Lions and Western Province at home to log leaders Griquas and the Leopards respectively with the Bulls and Cheetahs also having home encounters against Boland and the Sharks.
The South African Sevens rugby team defeated Australia 17-0 in the third-fourth place playoff to win a bronze medal at the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, on Saturday. Paul Delport, Marius Schoeman and Mpho Mbiyoza scored tries for South Africa with captain Mzwandile Stick adding a conversion to complete the scoring. The South Africans had earlier been defeated by Fiji 21-7 in the semi-final with the South Pacific Islanders going on to beat Portugal 43-10 in a one sided final to secure the gold medal.
Chiefs burn City to take Vodacom Challenge
Kaizer Chiefs defeated visiting English Premier league side Manchester City 1-0 courtesy of a 43rd minute strike from Jeffrey Ntuka (pictured) to win the Vodacom Challenge tournament in Pretoria Accommodation on Saturday.
City, boasting a score of big name signings including the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Robinho, failed to impress the 30 000 fans in attendance at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium and were undoubtedly below par against a motivated Amakhosi outfit. City’s loss gave them a one out of three record in the tournament, which was without question a disappointing result for a side that, on paper, look rather formidable.
Chiefs, in stark contrast, were full value for their victory and will now go into the upcoming Premier Soccer League (PSL) competition with lots of confidence.
Van der Bergh enters the record books
The World Swimming Championships in Rome proved to be a happy hunting ground for South African Cameron van der Bergh (pictured) when he blitzed his way to a new Championship record of 26.92 secs in the 50m breaststroke qualifying heats on Tuesday morning. Van der Bergh’s time was a mere 0.03 off the world record and he is now without doubt one of the favourite’s to win the event despite being up against the likes of world 100m breaststroke champion Brendon Rickard of Australia, and world record holder Felipe Franca Silva of Brazil.
Durban resident Ryan Brennan won a bronze medal in the men’s Oceanman final of the lifesaving competition at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan on Saturday. The event was the lifesaving equivalent of the traditional Ironman event (swimming, cycling and running) and involves a beach sprint followed by a 400m swim, 600m board paddle, an 800m ski paddle and then another sprint back up the beach. Brennan is an accomplished performer, having won bronze in the Malibu board race at the World Games in Duisberg, Germany in 2005.
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