Gold Coast — SA claimed another sprint double as visually impaired stars Jonathan Ntutu and Hilton Langenhoven claimed the 100m gold and silver at the Carrara stadium on Thursday.
The pair‚ inspired by the one-two achievements of Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies a few days ago‚ capped another lucrative day of six Commonwealth Games medals for Team SA‚ who ended the day in fourth spot with 11 golds.
Wrestler Hanru Botha and mountain-biker Alan Hatherly put their codes on the scoreboard by winning silver and bronze respectively.
The disabled lawn bowls triple claimed a bronze‚ the fourth medal for their sport‚ and 400m hurdler Wenda Nel finished third to deliver the 12th medal by track and field.
But hopes that SA could dominate the 200m as they had the 100m were dashed.
First the appeal to overturn Anaso Jobodwana’s disqualification came to nought‚ and then Clarence Munyai was unable to break into the top three‚ finishing fourth despite struggling with a hamstring niggle he suffered in the semifinals.
He spoke about taking two weeks off‚ which means he is surely out of the 4x100m relay team that competes in the heats on Friday.
Instead it was Ntutu and Langenhoven who enjoyed the limelight on the night.
"It was awesome‚" said Ntutu‚ who took the title in a time of 11.02‚ slower than the 10.80 Games record he had clocked in morning heats.
"It wasn’t the same as this morning in terms of getting out of the blocks and driving phase‚ but what I did do was try to stay calm‚ not try to emulate what I’ve done this morning. But winning a gold medal — nothing can describe what I’m feeling. I’m sure it will hit me harder when I get home‚" said Ntutu‚ who was born with his disability.
Langenhoven‚ who clocked 11.27 to take second by a mere one-hundredth of a second over the Malaysian competitor‚ said the feat by Simbine and Bruintjies had motivated them.
"When you see your countrymen in special moments on the track‚ it always inspires you‚ it always gives you goosebumps and you want to emulate.
"Me and Jonathan knew that we would be in the medals. The order was unclear‚ but I will take my silver‚" said Langenhoven.
Team SA needs another five golds to equal their all-time best of 16 from Vancouver 1954.
Colleen Piketh and Nicolene Neal will take on Malaysia for the women’s lawn bowls pairs gold on Friday, and Caster Semenya is favourite in the 800m final.
But Piketh‚ who took the pairs gold at Glasgow 2014‚ and Neal nearly did not get to the semifinals after producing a sensational fight-back in the quarterfinals against England.
They were trailing 6-11 with four ends to go and Piketh delivered excellent drives to take the game away from their opponents and put them into a 14-11 lead with one stanza left.
"Her drives were brilliant‚" Neal said of the skip. "And that’s what won the game."
Mountain-biker Hatherly‚ who broke his arm in a race in February‚ took bronze to spoil what would have otherwise been an all-New Zealand party on the podium.
"To come back to a race of this level and medal is huge‚" said the 22-year-old.
"I was racing against the best in the world. It was a super tough course‚ and I’m happy to have been here two weeks back to adjust to the humidity."
Botha qualified pretty easily for the 74kg final‚ but he had the misfortune of facing Indian star Kumar Sushil‚ the defending champion who has won a world title and two Olympic medals.
The bout was almost over before one could blink.
The only chance cauliflower-eared Botha, who recently had his first professional boxing fight, might have had was if he had caught his opponent with an uppercut on the way in.
"I can’t do that‚" he said with a laugh. "He’s good. I’m going to leave it there."