SA athletes haul in medals at Commonwealth Games

2014-07-31 08:32

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South African athletes have claimed three silver medals and a bronze in the track and field events at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

National 400m sprint record holder Wayde van Niekerk held his own against Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada, who won gold in a Games record time of 44.24 seconds last night.

Van Niekerk took the lead over the first bend and the back straight before the Grenadian pulled away over the final 150m with the South African challenging till the bitter end for a time of 44.68 sec.

Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago posted a time of 44.78 seconds to finish in third place.

The Commonwealth silver medal completes a magnificent year for the Bloemfontein athlete after he sensationally broke the 15-year-old national record at the Diamond League meeting in New York in June with a time of 44.38 seconds.

Van Niekerk has another possible chance of winning silver as he will feature in the 200m semifinals with compatriots Ncincilili Titi and Akani Simbine today.

The country’s first field event medals came courtesy of the long jump duo of Zarck Visser and Rushwahl Samaai as they claimed silver and bronze, respectively.

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford of England clinched the gold medal with a winning distance of 8.20m.

Visser leapt into second place with his best effort of 8.12m, while Samaai’s 8.08m attempt earned him third place.

South African javelin queen Sunette Viljoen surrendered her Commonwealth title to Australia’s Kim Mickle, who also smashed Viljoen’s games record with a heave of 65.96m.

Viljoen was on the cusp of winning her third consecutive Commonwealth gold medal, but her 63.19m was only good enough for a creditable silver medal.

Kelsey-Lee Robberts of Australia rounded off the podium with a best heave of 62.95m.

Meanwhile, South African men’s 800m ace Andre Olivier booked a final berth in a two-lap race after finishing third in his semifinal in a time of one minute, 46.30 seconds (1:47.93).

He will face world record holder David Rudisha and Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana.

South African discus thrower Victor Hogan also progressed to today’s final with an automatic qualification in the morning session.

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