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17 April 2018 | in Athletics, Swimming, Summer Universiade, NUSF News

Universiade stars shine at Gold Coast 2018

University Sports South Africa will look back proudly on their achievements at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, after seeing a number of Universiade stars take their talents to the next level, and shine.

 

Twelve former World Student Games athletes made the final 196-member South African squad that participated at the prestigious event in Australia, with a total of six medals earned between them.

 The 2015 Summer Universiade gold medalist Akani Simbine, an Information Science graduate from the University of Pretoria, claimed the very same feat at this year's Commonwealth Games. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/BackpagePix

The headline act was undoubtedly sprint sensation Akani Simbine, as the Information Science graduate from the University of Pretoria who claimed 100m gold at the 2015 Universiade in Gwangju claimed the very same feat at the Commonwealth Games, arguably his greatest achievement to date, becoming the first South African at a major international championship – the Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games – in 110 years.

 

Henricho Bruintjies, who was selected for the 4x100m relay at the Gwangju Student Games, completed a one-two for South Africa in the 100m, powering his way to silver as he joined his compatriot Simbine on the podium.

 Reigning 100m world champion Justin Gatlin congratulates the former Universiade gold medallist Anaso Jobodwana on his winning performance at a 150m event in Pretoria, South Africa earlier this year

Still on the track, a lot was expected from another South African speedster Anaso Jobodwana, who had claimed both the 100m and 200m gold at the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, and was one of the pre-race favourites for the 200m Commonwealth title.

 

Yet in a sad twist of events, Jobodwana, who had false-started but was given a green card which allowed him a second bite at the cherry, finished second in his semi-final to progress to the final, yet was later disqualified after Commonwealth officials reviewed the decision.

 

The 25-year-old would however suppress that disappointment with elation later on the in the Games as he teamed up with Simbine, Bruintjies and Emile Erasmus to claim silver in the 4x100m relay.

 Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen, a two-time Summer Universiade champion in the discipline, added a Commonwealth Games bronze to her career accolades. Photo: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Sticking with athletics, but switching over to the field events, South Africa’s Ruswahl Samaai, who was selected for last year’s Universiade in Taipei, claimed bronze in the men’s long jump, while women’s javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen, who claimed gold in the 2009 Universiade in Belgrade as well as the 2011 edition in Shenzhen, took the bronze at the Gold Coast, her fourth Commonwealth javelin medal of her decorated career.

 Taipei silver medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker went one better in the pool at the Commonwealth Games, taking gold in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events. Photo: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Finally, at the pool the talented swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker, who earned silver in the 200m breaststroke at last year’s Summer Universiade, went one better in Australia, claiming gold in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events at the Gold Coast, breaking three African records in the process.

 

South Africa ended sixth on the overall medals table, winning a total of 37 medals, including 13 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze, but will no doubt be elated by the progress of numerous university athletes who have gone on to prove themselves on an even bigger stage.