Hendricks takes gap to earn road race bronze
SOUTH Africa wrapped up its track and field medal haul at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with the men’s 4x100m relay team winning silver with a new national record on Saturday morning.
The country’s athletes won a total of 14 medals – five gold, four silvers, and five bronzes – leaving them in joint-third place with just the marathons left on the programme on Sunday which will not feature any South Africans.
The relay quartet produced the goods on the night with newly crowned Commonwealth 100m champion carrying the baton over the line in second place with a time of 38.24 seconds.
The team shaved 0.11 off the record the relay team of Simon Magakwe, Bruintjies, Simbine and Ncincilili Titi posted four years ago.
Simbine had it all to do with England and Australia in front and with Jamaican Yohan Blake receiving his baton practically at the same time as the South African.
Blake on his inside was no match for his speed, he chased down the Aussie and was gaining on England’s Harry Aikines-aryeetey but was just pipped at the line.
“I still want to see if there is a replay on, but I know I chased those guys down and we were pretty far behind,
“All that was in my head was ‘just get in front, just get in front, just catch’ and I remember seeing Blake coming up and I said, ‘no ways is he going to get me this time’.
“I moved, and I was getting close to Harry of England and I was just like ‘give me 10 metres more’, but the 10 metres didn’t come. I am just really happy that we could get a medal for South Africa.”
Simbine said he surprised himself with his storming run where he nearly caught the Aikines-aryeetey but still managed to outrun everyone else in that home stretch.
“I knew I could finish really strong, but I didn’t think I could finish that strong because that was really, really strong and I actually surprised myself,”
“It is just the beginning of the season and my top-end speed is looking really well and I am just happy that I could come here and run and represent South Africa.”
Breaking the record was quite an achievement for a team that has practised only four times before the final.
Bruintjies said South Africa can beat the best nations in the BATON CHARGE: England’s Harry Aikines-aryeetey, left, leads South Africa’s Akani Simbine to win the 4x100m relay.
world and push for even faster times if the relay team spends more time racing and training together.
“If we can get a couple more sessions in then we can be unbeatable, practice makes perfect so if we can get the changeovers right I don’t anybody would be able to beat us,” Bruintjies said.
South Africa finally delivered on its promise as a possible relay powerhouse after years of bungling by administrators in creating opportunities for the country’s top sprinters to combine as a team.
At the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, the
relay team failed dismally due to a lack of preparations when a mistake at the first change over between Bruintjies and Jobodwana ended their charge for silverware in the heats.
The country failed to send teams to the IAAF World Relays in 2014, 2015, and 2017 failing to capitalise on the rising sprinting revolution.
The country has produced five sub-10 second athletes since 2014 but it is yet to transform this into relay success.
“From 2014 these guys have built a culture in the relay team, a culture where we know what we are capable of as a team,” Jobodwana said.
“Being part of a team is
always great even though we compete as individuals but if we are all wearing the green and gold we are doing it for the country then it is always a big thing in South Africa.”
Meanwhile, African javelin champ Phil-mar Janse van Rensburg came close to stepping onto the podium. Janse van Rensburg finished fourth in the final with a best heave of 79.83m, less than a metre short of his personal best.
He would have had to improve his PB by two metres for a chance of a medal with the third-placed Anderson Peters of Grenada taking the bronze with a throw of 82.20m. CLINT Hendricks added the road race bronze medal to South Africa’s medal tally with a gutsy sprint for the line at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games yesterday morning.
South Africa’s medal harvest slowed to a trickle on the penultimate day of the Games with Hendricks and the men’s 4x100m relay team adding the only medals to the country’s tally.
The team will go into today’s final day of the quadrennial showpiece in fifth place with the hopes of the Blitzboks adding to their haul of 37 medals – 13 gold, 11 silver, and 13 bronze.
If South Africa manage to hold on to fifth place it will be the fourth time the country has finished in this position in the medals table since the 1994 Games.
Hendricks was still in the thick of things, staying in the lead bunch tucked away towards the back, as the riders approached the last six kilometres of the 168.3km race at Currumbin Beachfront.
Eleven riders launched the sprint to the line with less than a kilometre to go, with Hendricks leaving it perhaps a bit late. But the 26-year-old – the 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour champion from Paarl – nevertheless produced an impressive dash to squeeze through a small gap.
He pipped Northern Ireland’s Mark Downey and New Zealand’s Hayden Mccormick as they practically crossed the line at the same time of 3:57.01.
Hendricks came into the Games buoyed by his recent victory at the 106km Herald Cycle Tour Road Race.
It was an incredible comeback for Australia’s Steele von Hoff, who raced to victory seven weeks after fracturing four vertebrae, with Welshman Jonathan Mould finishing in second place.
Amateur wrestler Michael Gaitskill could not add to the grapplers’ two medals from the last two days, losing to Alexander Moore of Canada 12-2 on technical points.
Martin Erasmus became the first South African since the 1958 Empire Games to win a wrestling gold medal at the quadrennial showpiece the day before, while Hanru Botha won silver in the 74kg category.
South Africa was in with a chance of a rare table tennis medal with Theo Cogill featuring in the bronze-medal match in the men’s TT6-10 singles.
However, he lost to Wales’ Joshua Stacey 3-2 with scores of 11-8, 4-11, 6-11, 13-11, 8-11.
Rio Olympic diver Julia Vincent, who was fourth in the women’s 1m springboard on Friday, had to be content with sixth place in the 3m springboard final, scoring 291.45.
STOMPING GROUND: Lukhanyo Am of the Cell C Sharks makes his presence felt during the Super Rugby match against the Vodacom Bulls at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium yesterday. In support of Am is teammate Tera Mtembu.