Olympics: KZN well represented

2008-08-08 00:00

Swimmer Darian Townsend, mountain biker Burry Stander and a host of hockey players appear to have the best chance of bringing back a medal for KwaZulu-Natal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which got under way yesterday.

Townsend is tipped to be part of the 4 x 100 m Individual Medley team that will challenge for gold in the swimming pool. The Pietermaritzburg-bred swimmer is likely to make up the fourth part of the same quartet that famously brought back gold from the Athens Olympics four years ago, along with Roland Schoeman, Ryk Neethling and Lyndon Ferns.

According to the official Sascoc list of the 137-member South African team, there are 26 participants at the Beijing Olympics who give their official residence as KwaZulu-Natal. Many more have grown up in the province and since moved on.

These include 32-year-old Kim Rew, who grew up in Pietermaritzburg and attended Girls’ High School before moving to Johannesburg then Cape Town. She will be competing in sailing.

While Townsend, now based in the U.S., is the most likely KwaZulu-Natal medallist, Stander’s form over the past year has thrust him into the spotlight in the Games’ cross-country mountain-biking event.

The 20-year-old from Port Shepstone finished seventh, second, fifth and second in World Cup events in Belgium, Spain, Scotland and Canada respectively, to currently lie third overall in the standings.

“If you put a carrot in front of Burry’s nose, he will go for it, so he is optimistic about challenging for a medal in Beijing,” Stander’s mother, Mandie, said yesterday.

“But he also knows how inexperienced he is compared to the guys he will be competing against. I just hope he doesn’t put himself under too much pressure.”

KZN is well represented in the men’s and women’s hockey teams. The four Maritzburg College old boys and UKZN students in the men’s team — Darryn Gallagher, Marvin Harper, Tommy Hammond and Geoff Abbott — are joined by four players in the women’s side — Kate Hector, Lenise Marais, and captain Marsha Marescia from Durban, and ex-Epworth schoolgirl Vuyisanani Mangisa.

Among other competitors expected to excel is 22-year-old Durban swimmer Melissa Corfe, who surged to Olympic qualification with a personal best of four minutes and eight seconds at the SA National Championships in April.

Wykeham Collegiate old girl Jen Hodson (canoeing) and Port Shepstone’s Yolande Speedy (MTB cross country) are among others from the province.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.