South Africa could wake up to a third Olympic medal on Friday after star swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker made it into another final at the Tokyo Games.
The 24-year-old won her heat in the 200m breaststroke semifinals in two minutes 19.33 seconds on Thursday to advance as the fastest qualifier for Friday’s final, which gets underway at 3.41am (South African time).
Schoenmaker clinched a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke final on Tuesday. Bianca Buitendag also won a silver in surfing.
Friday’s final will be historic as the event will see the country having two representatives in any Olympic swimming final since the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. This after Kaylene Corbett also booked a berth by winning her heat on Thursday to reach the final.
Corbett (22) nailed her place in the medal contest as the fourth fastest qualifier in a time of 2:22.08.
Schoenmaker has made a huge splash in her debut Olympics as the Tuks Aquatics swimmer shattered records over the past few days.
Before Thursday’s semifinals, she had clocked 2:19.16 during the preliminary round on Wednesday, setting a new 200m breaststroke Olympic record.
The feat came two days after Schoenmaker’s 1:04.82 in the first round had obliterated the 100m breaststroke mark held by American Lilly King since the 2016 Rio Games.
Also on Thursday, Team SA wrote a new chapter after the men’s hockey team recorded a historic win at the Olympics. The team fought back from 2-1 down to beat Germany 4-3 on Thursday.
The victory, their first in four matches, pushed South Africa from bottom to fifth in Pool B, just a spot above a winless Canada.
Elsewhere, the golf event was suspended due to bad weather with South Africa represented by Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Garrick Higgo.