SA women show their talent at Lifesaving’s Bussan Cup
BEACH speed specialists Mandi Maritz and Bradley Odendaal were among the South African standouts on yesterday’s opening of Lifesaving’s 2017 International Sanyo Bussan Cup in Japan.
South Africa’s highlight of the day and solitary first place belonged to the Female Rescue Tube Team of Carmel Billson (pictured), Sasha-Lee Nordengen Corris, Jodi Cleworth and Maritz.
Seven countries are competing in the 10th Anniversary of the Sanyo Cup, with defending champions Australia favoured to add to their 2016 success.
New Zealand are the current world champions, but Australia has made the Sanyo Bussan Cup a second home and it would take something special from New Zealand to overtake Australia today.
Hosts Japan were the surprise package on the opening day in finishing second overall, with New Zealand and South Africa making up the top four.
South Africa placed third in 2016 and coach Jay Cee Thomson remained confident that his youthful squad could still improve enough in today’s events to replicate last year’s overall finish.
Thomson applauded the efforts of the South African women’s contingent.
“It was tough going for our men but our women kept us in the top order of the standings with some very good performances. We all know what Mandi (Maritz) is capable of on the sand but it took a very strong team effort to win the Female Rescue Tube Race,” said Thomson.
“Our ladies put in some good performances in placing in the top three in many of the races and I know our men can improve.
“Our squad is a mixture of youth and experience and the youngsters would have learned from the opening day experience.
“I know we can be stronger on the final day.”
Odendaal’s second place finish also bodes well for the future of the South African Beach Sprinting.
Legendary South African and former World Champion Beach Sprinter Ryle de Morny was unavailable and Kwazulu-Natal’s Jonathan Rorke, who stunningly upset De Morny in the General Tire-LifesavingSA National Interclub Championships was also not in Japan.
Odendaal has been the dominant Beach sprinter among the juniors in South Africa.
Maritz, who competed at the Sanyo Cup 10 years ago as junior, returned to the event for the first time in a decade to complete an opening day in which she placed first, second and third in her respective races.
Kwazulu-Natal’s Carmel Billson was imposing at the recent General Tire-LifesavingSA National Interclub Championships and was crowned overall female national champion.
Billson tasted victory as part of the Female Rescue Tube Team, but had to be content with fifth place in the Female Surf Swim, with teammate Nordengen-Corris finishing second.
This year’s event is being held at the Momochi Beach, which is a man-made beach near the centre of Fukuoka City.