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09 June 2019 | in Summer FISU World University Games, NUSF News

South Africa targets 8 medals at Napoli 2019

USSA announce team to compete in the 30thSummer Universiade


PRETORIA -- University Sport South Africa (USSA) have announced their team ahead of the Summer Universiade 2019, scheduled to take place in the Italian city of Napoli, Italy from 3-14 July.


USSA President Ilhaam Groenewald is confident that team South Africa can win at least eight medals in Napoli and improve on their tally of five medals at the last edition in Taipei, in 2017. All five medals in Taipei had been silver and Groenewald is gunning for at least two gold this time.


USSA will participate in six sports, namely Athletics, Archery, Football (men and women), Rugby 7’s (men and women), Swimming and Tennis. The total strength of the South African delegation is around 180, inclusive of athletes, officials and support staff.


"We will be relying on the strength of both athletics and swimming to bag medals," said Groenewald. "I also believe that the men's and women’s football and our Rugby 7s teams will do well."


The Head of Delegation for South Africa in Napoli will be Mandla Gagayi encouraged the student athletes to make networks and establish friendships with their various counterparts from other countries. However, there was also a word of caution in his address as he urged the delegation to be disciplined throughout the games.


He further said that, “We are aware of the scrutiny and discrimination that female athletes often face, so we are dedicating our upcoming performance to all female athletes.”


Former Universiade footballer, 'Banyana Banyana' Amanda DlaminiFormer captain of the USSA football team and 'Banyana Banyana' member Amanda Dlamini was the Master of Ceremonies for the team announcement. The great ambassador of South African sport encouraged the student-athletes to learn from the unique experience of the Universiade and to ultimately have fun.


Dlamini was joined by national football team member and University of Johannesburg Sportswoman of the Year, Thato Letsoso.


“Ever since I left the 29thSummer Universiade in Taipei, my main focus has always been on the next Universiade," said Letsoso. "Fortunately, it’s in a very historic place so I’m hoping we create history for every South African female athlete and for the whole nation at large. With that said, I am looking forward to the games because you have to make the most out of something that you enjoy.”


Upcoming South African athletics star in 100m and 200m, Chederick van Wyk recently competed alongside former Universiade 100m record holder Akani Simbine in the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama and together bagged a silver medal for South Africa. The sprinter enthusiastically told us about his inclusion in the team. “Firstly, I am grateful to go and represent my country. It will be my first time at the Universiade and I am very excited, I am looking forward to going all out and giving it my best.”


Finally, USSA President Groenewald encouraged the South African public to support and get behind the team going to Italy later this month. The full South African team can be found here.