South Africa’s Olympic Team
After the massive kick-off ceremony for the Beijing Olympics on Friday night (August 8) fans of the South African Olympic Team have been ardently glued to the screens, trying to catch snippets of their favorite sporting heroes in action. This year’s South African Olympic Team is quite large and will be competing in no less than eighteen sporting disciplines.
A lot of eyes are turned towards the aquatic events where South Africans have previously excelled. This year’s team is made up of: Jenna Dreyer (diving), Troy Prinsloo (swimming 1500m free water), William Diering (swimming 200m), Natalie du Toit (swimming 10km/5km open water), Cameron Van Der Burg (swimming 50m, 100m, 200m breaststroke), Kathryn Meaklim (swimming 400 individual medley), Gideon Louw (swimming 50m freestyle/ 100m freestyle relay), Amanda Loots (swimming 100m, 200m butterfly/200m individual medley), Wendy Trott (swimming 400m, 800m freestyle), Jan Venter (swimming 200m freestyle), Jean Basson (swimming 200m, 400m freestyle), Darian Townsend (swimming 200m individual medley/200m freestyle/4×100 freestyle relay/4×200 freestyle relay), Neil Versfeld (swimming 200m breaststroke), Sebastien Rousseau (swimming 200m freestyle/100m, 200 m butterfly/200m, 400m individual medley), Lize-Mari Retief (swimming 50m, 100m freestyle/100m butterfly), Jessica Pengelly (swimming individual medley’s), Riaan Schoeman (swimming 400m individual medley), Lyndon Ferns (swimming 100m Freestyle/100m butterfly), Suzaan Van Biljon (swimming 200m, 100m breaststroke), Roland Schoeman (swimming 50m, 100m freestyle), George Du Rand (swimming 100m, 200m backstroke), Melissa Corfe (swimming 100m, 200 m backstroke/200m, 400m freestyle), Ryk Neethling (swimming 100m freestyle/4x100m freestyle relay). The aquatic team is the largest section of this year’s SA Olympic Team.
Carrying South Africa in the archery division is Calvin Norris Hartley, while Odette Richards will be flying the South African flag in the gymnastics division and Heinrich Barnes will the sole representative of the team in the wrestling division. The cycling team is made up of Robert Hunter, Cherise Taylor, David George, John Lee Augustyn and Burry Stander; while Yolande Speedy will be participating in mountain biking. Jackson Chauke and Nkosinathi Hlatshawayo are the two boxers who have been chosen to represent the country; while Marlon August, Matthew Jago and Patrick Trezise will represent SA in the judo section. The representatives for sailing are Belinda Kim Rew, Dominique Provoyeur and Penny Alison. Ramon DiClemente, Shaun Bryce Keeling, Alexandra Louise White, Kirsten Michelle McCann and Adriana Hendrika Geyser make up the rowing team. The badminton team consists of Chantal Botts, Chris Dednam, Roelof Dednam and Michelle Edwards. Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie will be playing tennis on behalf of the nation; while Diane Swanton and Esmari Van Reenen will represent their homeland in the shooting division. The beach volleyball team is made up of Gershon Rorich, Grant Goldschmidt, Judith Augoustides, Vitalina Nel, and the triathlon team is comprised of Carol Austin, Kate Roberts, Mari Rabie.
Other areas where the South African Team will be competing are hockey, athletics, canoeing and fencing. So far the South African teams haven’t gained any medals, but the Beijing Olympic games have only just begun and there is still plenty of time for the teams to shine.