Tokyo Olympics

SA skater Brandon Valjalo tried his best with broken wrist: 'I'll work harder for the next one'

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South African skater Brandon Valjalo
South African skater Brandon Valjalo
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

African champion Brandon Valjalo made history on Sunday as he became the first South African skater to compete at the Olympic Games.

Valjalo is one of three South African skaters but was the only one who participated in the street event.

This was expected to be Valjalo's moment as he represented his country at the world's biggest events, but prior to getting on the park, the 23-year-old broke his wrist.

Valjalo was about to give up on his Olympic dream but instead competed with a cast as he scored 16.41 in total to end 18th in qualifying - failing to reach the eight-man final.

"I went out there and tried my best despite the fact that I have a broken wrist," wrote Valjalo on Instagram.

"The least I could do was enjoy myself and fly the South African flag high! So honoured to have represented my country and my continent at the Olympics. Will work even harder for the next one.

"Thank you everyone for all your love and support!"

His manager Wendy Gila says that nerves got the better of Valjalo in the hot sweltering Tokyo heat at Ariake Urban Sports Park.

"He skated well this morning in training, but I think the nerves got to him in the actual competition," said Gila.

South Africa will now wait on their next two other skaters to get their campaign under way: Melissa Williams (Women's Park), Andrew Oberholzer (Men's Park).

Meanwhile, SA's Boipelo Awuah withdrew on Friday after falling in her practice round and injuring her pelvis.

*Lynn Butler is in Tokyo covering the Olympic Games for Sport24

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