The 28th Summer Universiade has been widely praised for being both ecologically friendly and economically prudent, with only four out of 69 venues newly built.
The Nambu University International Aquatics Center is one of the four facilities that were built especially for the Games. Gwangju also boasts the most high-tech and eco-friendly swimming venue in South Korea whose facilities will be used for the World Aquatics Championships in 2019.
Saturday evening saw some scintillating performances with the highlight the meet record of the Team USA woman’s 400m team when they shaved the Universiade record of 3:38.15, Russia’s effort from 2013, with a scorching time of 3:38.12 for the gold.
Women’s 50 fly semifinals
China’s Lu Ying claimed the first semifinal heat with a staunch 26.05. The Chinese ace is well with reach of Aleksandra Gerasimenya’s 2013 mark of 25.84 which arguers well for fast final on Sunday evening. Her imeadiate challenge will stem from Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova goes seeded second into the finals 26.21 with her win the second semifinal.
Canada’s Samantha Corea qualified third overall in 26.34 with Australia’s Holly Barratt posting a fourth-seeded time of 26.61.
Ukraine’s Darya Stepanyuk (26.71), New Zealand’s Laura Quilter (26.71), Italy’s Elena Di Liddo (26.73) and USA’s Christina Bechtel (26.73) also progressed through to the finals.
Men’s 100 back semifinals
Japan’s Junya Hasegawa laid down the marker when he scorched to a 54.01 to top the semi’s closely followed by Italy’s Christopher Ciccarese who posted a 54.23 will go into the final seeded two.
First semi final winner Jack Conger frm the USA won the first semifinal with a third-seeded time of 54.53.
Russia’s Andrei Shabasov (54.65), USA’s Jacob Pebley (54.74), Italy’s Matteo Milli (54.95), France’s Eddie Moueddene (55.42) and South Korea’s Seonkwan Park (55.45) all made it through to the final.
Women’s 400 IM finals
Sarah Henry from thge USA produced a “monster” back half of the 400m IM posting a Pb of 4:38.88m to claim the title in convincing fashion.
Tzech’s Barbora Zavadova secured silver in a time of 4:40.03. Hali Flickinger from the USA settled for the bronze in 4:40.54.
South Korea’s Seoyeong Kim finished fourth in 4:41.78 with Italy’s Luisa Trombetti taking fifth in 4:41.84.
Italy’s Stefania Pirozzi (4:42.02), Australia’s Ellen Fullerton (4:43.29) and China’s Li Xuanxu (4:45.88) also competed in the final
Men’s 100 breast semifinals
Great Britain’s Craig Benson swam an impressive 1:00.16 to top the finalists. Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin led the way in the first semifinal in 1:00.27.
Serbia’s Caba Siladji, qualified third in 1:00.51, Great Britain’s James Wilby qualified fourth in 1:00.59 with Russia’s Oleg Kostin taking fifth in 1:00.62.
Japan’s Kazuki Kohinata (1:00.81), Australia’s Nicholas Schafer (1:00.86) and USA’s Daniel MacDonald (1:00.93) will contest the final on Sunday evening.
Women’s 200 back semifinals
Lisa Bratton from USA raced her way to the top seed with a 2:11.08 Her teammate Melanie Klaren progressed as the second seed with a 2:11.58. Czech’s Simona Baumrtova posted a controlled 2:11.60 to go into the final seeded third.
Japan’s Yuka Kawayoke is seeded fourth with a 2:11.62.
Canada’s Barbara Rojas-Jardin (2:12.52), France’s Camille Gheorghiu (2:12.71), Russia’s Alexandra Papusha (2:13.00) and Japan’s Miki Takahashi (2:13.13) will contest the final on Sunday evening.
Men’s 50 fly semifinals
Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin edged out Brazil’s Henrique Martins in semifinal 2 that saw the top two times posted 50 fly
Tsurkin posted a time of 23.43 with Martins went a 23.46 to go into the final in what is sure to be a crackerjack affair.
Italy’s Piero Codia posted a 23.48 to top semifinal 1 and finish third in semis.
Russia’s Oleg Kostin (23.52), China’s Shi Yang (23.77), USA’s Matt Josa (23.86), USA’s Andrew Seliskar (24.11) and Russia’s Aleksandr Sadovnikov (24.13) will contest the final on Sunday evening
Women’s 400 free relay finals
Team USA its second gold medal of the evening in a dominant fashion to win by more than three seconds when they shaved the Universiade record of 3:38.15, Russia’s effort from 2013, with a scorching time of 3:38.12 for the win.
Abbey Weitzeil (54.78), Shannon Vreeland (54.34), Madeline Locus (54.95) and Lia Neal (54.05) produced a awesome performance to claim the tile in record fashion
Japan’s Yui Yamane (55.07), Yasuko Miyamoto (55.63), Aya Sato (54.75) and Mari Sumiyoshi (55.70) placed second in 3:41.15.
Russia’s Polina Lapshina (56.17), Margarita Nesterova (54.68), Elizaveta Bazarova (55.63) and Rozaliya Nasretdinova (54.86) secured the bronze in 3:41.34.
China (3:41.99), Italy (3:42.89), Australia (3:43.73), Sweden (3:44.50) and Canada (3:44.90) also swam the final.
Men’s 400 free relay finals
Team USA made it a clean sweep of the gold medals as the foursome of Matt Ellis (49.86), Michael Wynalda (49.38), Jack Conger (47.75) and Seth Stubblefield (48.86) harnessed a winning time of 3:15.85 in the men’s 400m freestyle relay.
Italy who initially led at the 200m mark with Giuseppe Guttuso (49.62) and Jonathan Boffa (49.11) getting them out front in 1:38.73. but the determined Conger with an impressive 47.75 split to put the swim away. Italy eventually had to settle for fourth place in 3:18.43.
Japan’s Reo Sakata (50.06), Kosuke Matsui (49.75), Takumi Komatsu (49.49) and Toru Maruyama (48.68) secured the silver in 3:17.98 while Russia’s Ivan Kuzmenko (50.22), Oleg Tikhobaev (49.55), Alexander Tikhonov (50.17) and Mikhail Polishchuk (48.24) won the bronze in 3:18.18.
Turkey (3:20.51), Belarus (3:20.82) and South Africa (3:21.07) placed fifth through seventh, while Australia drew a disqualification after an early takeoff between Jack McLoughlin and Justin James.
Men’s 800 free
Great Britain’s Jay Lelliott claimed the top time during the 800m freestyle heats with a strong time of 7:55.81. USA’s Janardan Burns broke 8:00 for the first time in his career with a strong 7:59.06 for the second seed, while Ukraine’s Sergii Frolov claimed third in the heats with a 7:59.88 to round out the top three.
Japan’s Ayatsugu Hirai (8:00.69), USA’s Arthur Frayler (8:00.93), Australia’s Jack McLoughlin (8:01.21), Australia’s Jordan Harrison (8:01.30) and Japan’s Kohei Yamamoto (8:03.69) also made Sunday’s final.
No South Africans participated in this event.
Women’s 50 fly
There could be a new Universiade record in the women’s 50m butterfly in the offering after some stellar performances during the heats this morning. Aleksandra Gerasimenya’s 2013 time of 25.84 could be under threat as Australia’s Holly Barratt led the way with a 26.54. China’s Lu Ying (26.55) and Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova (26.66) qualified second and third.
Canada’s Samantha Corea (26.68), USA’s Felicia Lee (26.76), Slovakia’s Katarina Listopadova (26.77), Russia’s Alina Kashinskaya (26.89) and Italy’s Elena Di Liddo (26.94) all cleared 27 seconds for the top eight.
Ukraine’s Nadiia Koba (27.02), Ukraine’s Darya Stepanyuk (27.09), USA’s Christina Bechtel (27.09), New Zealand’s Laura Quilter (27.12), South Africa’s Jessica Ashley-Cooper (27.16), Japan’s Rino Hosoda (27.30), Ireland’s Shauna O’Brien (27.40) and South Africa’s Marne Erasmus (27.41) also made semis.
Men’s 100 back
Japan’s Junya Hasegawa, currently ranked 20th in the world with a 54.00 from Japanese Nationals, led prelims with a time of 54.27.
USA’s Jack Conger hit the wall second in prelims with a time of 54.86, while Italy’s Christopher Ciccarese earned the third seed in 54.98. USA’s Jacob Pebley (55.17), Japan’s Yuma Edo (55.26), Italy’s Matteo Milli (55.49), Great Britain’s Joe Patching (55.50) and Russia’s Andrei Shabasov (55.76) made the top eight.
South Korea’s Seonkwan Park (55.82), France’s Eddie Moueddene (55.83), Germany’s Felix Wolf (56.06), Poland’s Krzysztof Morawski (56.09), Russia’s Nikita Ulyanov (56.11), Germany’s Max Claussen (56.33), Canada’s Jeremie De Zwirek (56.34) and Sweden’s Axel Pettersson (56.35) also claimed spots in semis.
South Africans David de Villiers posted a 56,53 (20th) with Martin Binedell recording a 57,15 (24th). There were 43 participants.
Women’s 400 IM
USA’s Sarah Henry turned in a 4:39.62 to lead the way in prelims. Czech’s Barbora Zavadova (4:41.40) and USA’s Hali Flickinger (4:41.48) qualified second and third as they pushed each other to the limit during heat 3.
Australia’s Ellen Fullerton (4:42.22), Italy’s Luisa Trombetti (4:42.45), Italy’s Stefania Pirozzi (4:43.77), South Korea’s Seoyeong Kim (4:44.86) and China’s Li Xuanxu (4:46.05) will also vie for the championship title tonight.
South African Kirsty McLauchlan finished in 18th place in a time of 4:56,48. There were 24 participants.
Men’s 100 breast
Great Britain’s Craig Benson clocked a 1:00.46 for the top seed, but he will need a big drop to challenge Igor Borysik’s meet record of 59.53 from 2009.
Australia’s Nicholas Schafer finished second in prelims with a time of 1:00.90, while Russia’s Oleg Kostin posted a third-seeded 1:00.91.
Great Britain’s Jay Wilby (1:01.10), Serbia’s Caba Siladji (1:01.15), Italy’s Andrea Toniato (1:01.26), Japan’s Kazuki Kohinata (1:01.32) and Kazakhstan’s Dmitry Balandin (1:01.48) claimed the top eight spots into semis.
Slovakia’s Tomas Klobucnik (1:01.60), Italy’s Lorenzo Antonelli (1:01.61), Germany’s Fabian Schwingenshlogl (1:01.74), USA’s Daniel MacDonald (1:01.79), Russia’s Anton Lobanov (1:01.82), Ireland’s Nicholas Quinn (1:01.84), Ukraine’s Dmytro Oseledets (1:01.95) and Japan’s Akihiro Yamaguchi (1:01.97) will also contend for finals spots in semis.
South African hopeful Marko Visser posted a 1:02,64 to finish in 22nd place, while his compatriot Alaric Basson posted a 1:04,29 (43rd). There were 65 participants.
Women’s 200 back
Lisa Bratton headed the heats with a 2:11.97. Yuka Kawayoke qualified second in 2:11.98. Melanie Klaren claimed the third seed in a time of 2:12.10.
Canada’s Genevieve Cantin (2:12.87), Japan’s Niki Takahashi (2:12.19), Canada’s Barbara Rojas–Jardin (2:13.79), Czech’s Simona Baumrtova (2:13.95) and France’s Camille Gheorghiu (2:14.02) also made the top eight into semis.
Italy’s Carlotta Zofkova (2:14.51), Australia’s Hayley White (2:14.59), Hong Kong’s Stephanie Au (2:15.09), Russia’s Anastasia Klyarovskaya (2:15.22), Hong Kong’s Claudia Lau (2:15.23), Germany’s Nadine Laemmler (2:15.56), New Zealand’s Kate Godfrey (2:15.74) and Russia’s Alexandra Papusha (2:16.25) earned the other transfer spots into semis.
Men’s 50 fly
Brazil’s Henrique Martins posted a strong 23.38 for the top seeding.
Italy’s Piero Codia (23.70), Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin (23.71), Russia’s Oleg Kostin (23.89), Russia’s Aleksandr Sadovnikov (23.91) and USA’s Matt Josa (23.95) also cleared 24 seconds to make semis.
China’s Shi Yang (24.05) and USA’s Andrew Seliskar (24.05) tied for the seventh seed to round out the top eight.
Italy’s Marco Belotti (24.20), Japan’s Junya Hasegawa (24.26), South Korea’s Haneol Kwon (24.36), Czech’s Jan Sefl (24.39), South Africa’s Nico Mayer (24.43), France’s Yonel Govindin (24.46), Poland’s Michal Poprawa (24.53) and Indonesia’s Glenn Sutanto (24.53) will also try for finals spots during semis.
Martins could make a run at Jason Dunford’s 2009 meet record of 23.09 during semis this evening.
South African Alard Basson posted a 25,05 (29th). There were 59 participants.
Women’s 400 free relay
Team USA smoked the rest of the teams in prelims with a 3:40.04. The squad consisted of Lia Neal (55.00), Madeline Locus (54.71), Elizabeth Pelton (55.07) and Felicia Lee (55.26).
Russia’s Polina Lapshina (55.76), Rozaliya Nasretdinova (56.74), Margarita Nesterova (54.91) and Elizaveta Bazarova (56.14) qualified second in 3:43.55. Japan’s Yui Yamane (55.87), Yasuko Miyamoto (55.65), Aya Sato (56.16) and Mari Sumiyoshi (55.93) earned the third seed in 3:43.61.
Italy (3:44.25), China (3:44.61), Australia (3:44.75), Canada (3:45.58) and Sweden (3:46.06) also made finals.
Men’s 400 free relay
Team USA posted a time of 3:17.79 to lead the rest of the field by nearly two seconds. (Paul Powers (50.13), Michael Wynalda (48.71), Clay Youngquist (49.74) and John Murray (49.21)). The Japanese squad of Reo Sakata (49.71), Kosuke Matsui (50.42), Takumi Komatsu (49.55) and Toru Maruyama (49.98) qualified second in 3:19.66 ahead of the Australian quartet of Travis Mahoney (49.95), Jacob Hansford (50.21), Justin James (48.79) and Jack McLoughlin (50.86) who snared third seeding in 3:19.81.
Russia (3:20.68), Italy (3:20.97), Turkey (3:21.96), South Africa (3:22.26) and Belarus (3:22.34) also made finals.
The organizing committee said Monday that this is the first time that every gold medalist will be subject to doping tests in the Univesiade’s history.
“At the 2012 London Olympics, all medalists were drug tested,” an official of the organizing committee said. “The Gwangju Universiade will be the first of its kind to conduct doping tests on all gold medalists, and we will also randomly test other athletes.”
The official said organizers have been conducting doping tests on athletes as they arrived from June 26, when the athletes’ village opened, adding that more than 750 urine and blood tests will be performed during the event.
As the Universiade’s preparation went into full swing, the Korean sports community was hit by doping scandals involving several beloved stars.
The biggest involved Park Tae-hwan, the country’s disgraced swimming hero who is suspended until the 2016 Rio Games after testing positive for testosterone. Park’s suspension will be effective until March 2, 2016, and chances of him swimming at the Olympics are still alive if the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) amends its local regulations. These prohibit an athlete who faced a punishment by the KOC or other sports federations for using or promoting banned substances from playing for three years from the date that his or her punishment expires.
Park was followed by Jeju United forward Kang Soo-il, who was banned for 15 games after testing positive for doping. He blamed a cream he used to help his mustache grow.
Kwak Yoo-wha, of the Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders in the women’s volleyball league, faced a six-game suspension for doping. She blamed diet pills.
The latest was Choi Jin-haeng, of the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization. He tested positive for stanozolol, a synthetic anabolic steroid, and was suspended from playing for 30 games on June 25.
The organizing committee said the doping tests, which will be conducted during the Universiade, are under the control of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). If an athlete tests positive, the sanctions also will be determined by the FISU.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has officially opened this year’s Summer Universiade during a ceremony in Gwangju devoted to youth on Friday evening.
The three-hour show was titled “U Are Shining: Youth is the Light of the Future” and directed by Park Myung-sung, who has previously worked on “Aida” and “Mamma Mia!” among other hit musicals
The Opening Ceremony highlighted the city of Gwangju’s idealistic image – a city filled with light as its name says in Korean – into a musical featuring a mix of modern electronic dance music and Korea’s traditional sounds.
Artists from Gwangju City Ballet and Gwangju City Traditional Music Orchestra helped give the Ceremony a local flavor.
With a huge “U”-shaped centerpiece displaying images symbolising Korea’s traditions, seats equipped with glow sticks made the Gwangju Universiade Main Stadium a real spectacle.
The show started with K-pop group “Brown Eyed Girls” performing two of their hit numbers before the Air Force’s “Black Eagles” team flew over the stadium to open the show.
Approximately 13,000 university athletes from 146 countries will be competing in the Games, where a total of 272 gold medals in 21 sports will be awarded over 12 days.
“We feel at home in Gwangju,” International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Claude-Louis Gallien said during the Opening Ceremony.
After urging the athletes to be ambitious and dream big, he said “Saranghaeyo”, Korean for “I love you”.
Gwangju 2015 is the third occasion South Korea has hosted the Universaide, following the 2003 summer event in Daegu and 1997 winter event in Muju.
It is set to be the largest Games ever, surpassing that of the Kazan Universiade in 2013.
But the Opening Ceremony was missing North Korea, who had planned to compete in eight sports but announced last month they were boycotting the Games in protest at United Nations setting up an office in Seoul to monitor the human rights record of its capital Pyongyang
The deadly disease Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS, which has killed 33 people in South Korea since its outbreak in May, has also overshadowed the build-up to the opening of the Games.
A total of 11 gold medals are due to be awarded on Saturday.
The first gold medal will come from women’s 1 metre diving.
The other gold medals will be awarded in fencing, judo and swimming.
Rio 2016 on Friday revealed its design for the Olympic Torch and the route for the Torch Relay, 399 days before the Opening Ceremony is due to take place.
The unique design of the Torch incorporates “Brazilian flair,” officials claimed.
The design aims to reflect the unprecedented meeting between the legendary Olympic flame and the human warmth of the Brazilian people, they said.
The Torch’s texture has triangles running the length of its body, alluding to the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the floating effect of its different segments refers to the efforts of the athletes.
One of its main innovations is the movement of these segments, which open up and expand vertically when the Olympic Flame is passed from one torchbearer to another.
Upon expanding, the segments reveal the elements that add the Brazilian flavour: harmonious diversity, contagious energy and exuberant nature, with the soil, the sea, the mountains, the sky and the sun represented in the colours of the Brazilian flag, which are also present in the visual identity of Rio 2016.
“The design of the Rio 2016 Torch was inspired by the Olympic spirit, our country’s nature, and the harmonious diversity and energy of our people,” said Beth Lula, the Rio 2016 brand director.
“We used the specific stroke of the Rio 2016 brand to design the torch’s contours. Its horizontal segments, once open, reveal the sky, mountains, sea and the ground, represented by the promenade of Copacabana.”
The design was the result of a nationwide competitive tender that 76 agencies responded to and that concluded with the meeting of a multidisciplinary Judging Panel, formed by 11 members recognised for their expertise in product design or their contribution to the Olympic Movement.
The panel unanimously selected the São Paulo-based design studio Chelles & Hayashi, established 21 years ago by Gustavo Chelles and Romy Hayashi.
After having been selected, the winning design was refined in collaboration with Rio 2016.
“The day is coming when we will have the honour of being the first country in South America to host the biggest sporting event on the planet,” said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
“In 399 days, people from across the world will look at us and see the Olympic flame lit in Rio.
“We are confident that we are going to meet, to the highest level, this great challenge that we have taken on.
“The Olympic torch is truly beautiful and fantastic.
“It will travel around Brazil and will be carried by the men and women of our people. It will stay in various municipalities and will cross the nation from north to south and east to west. It will be a great work of cooperation.”
The Torch Relay will begin with the traditional Flame Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, Greece, where the Ancient Olympic Games were born.
Then the torch will begin its tour of Brazil in May 2016.
Starting in the capital city of Brasilia and passing through an expected 500 cities and towns, with 300 of them due to host the Olympic Torch itself, the route was designed to reach as much of the Brazilian population as possible – an estimated 90 per cent of the public, it is claimed.
It will be carried by 12,000 people.
The torch will travel 20,000 kilometres by road and another 10,000 miles by air over the North and Midwest parts of the country, between the cities of Teresina and Campo Grande, without the flame ever going out.
“We want to show the world the chemistry that we believe will be born when the Olympic Flame meets the warmth of the Brazilian people,” said Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016.
Each Torch – crafted from recycled aluminium and resin with a satin finish – will weigh between one kilogram and 1.5kg and stands 63.5 centimetres high when contracted and 69cm when expanded.
Lightweight materials and a design that induces a grip closer to the Torch’s centre of gravity have been employed to make the experience of the 12,000 torchbearers the best it can be.
The Torch Relay is due to end on August 5, when it will light the Olympic Cauldron at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
The Relay will last between 90 and 100 days, allowing for technical breaks or special photo events.
“Rio de Janeiro is working very hard to host the Games, but these are all of Brazil’s Games and the whole population will take part,” said Nuzman.
“The most important things is that each person who takes part in the torch relay can leave for their city a strong message of union.”
The Relay will be presented by International Olympic Committee TOP partner Coca-Cola and Rio 2016 sponsors Nissan and Bradesco.
A special website for the Torch Relay has been set-up and can be seen by clicking here.
Former Olympic champion David Wilkie is tipping fellow Scotsman Ross Murdoch to win a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But he thinks London 2012 silver medallist Michael Jamieson will find it tough to make the British team.
Murdoch beat hot favourite Jamieson to the 200m breaststroke gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“I think it mentally destroyed Michael for a while and he had to go away and take stock and work out where he wants to be,” said Wilkie.
“He’s a class swimmer but he took a big mental hit,” Wilkie added.
“He was the golden boy of the Games and I really think he thought he could just turn up, swim four lengths and they’d give him the gold medal.
“Sport is not like that; sport is cruel. And suddenly this young guy Ross Murdoch just turns up and beats him and he just couldn’t handle that.
”I guess we just have to wait and see what happens.”
There was disappointment for both Murdoch, 21, and Jamieson, 26, at April’s British Swimming Championships in London, with the former third and the latter sixth in the 200m breaststroke final.
Murdoch did, however, make the GB team for next month’s World Championships after finishing second to a world record time from Adam Peaty in the 100m event.
But Jamieson signalled a return to form by beating Murdoch to win the 200m title at last week’s Scottish Championships.
”Michael, as I said, is a class swimmer but he needs to get things right if he’s to make the [Olympic] team,” added Wilkie, who won the 200m breaststroke Olympic gold at Montreal in 1976 in a world record time.
“Getting wins under his belt is one way of getting to Rio but he needs to start improving because there’s a lot of competition out there.”
Wilkie, 61, also picked up the 100m silver medal in 1976, adding to his 200m silver from the 1972 Games in Munich.
And he is backing Murdoch for further Scottish success on the highest stage.
He said: “I think Ross Murdoch will definitely make the team, but will he win a gold medal? It’ll be tough but I think he has the potential to medal in Rio.”
The SASOL National Winter Swimming Championships is an anual event sponsored by SASOL and hosted by Sasolburg Swimming Club. The event takes place in the Penny Heyns Swimming Pool in Sasolburg in the Northern Free State and is well attended by clubs from throughout the country, some African States and from clubs visiting from abroad.
The event is swum in an out-door pool and the water is heated to 25°c. Tents are provided for protection against the elements which create a carnival atmosphere and with food stalls on the premises and a well equiped shopping centre within walking distance : everyone enjoys every minute of their stay in Sasolburg.
Many of South Africa’s leading swimmers have during their careers, taken part in this competition, with coaches from all over the country using “Winter Champs” as a team building exercise to start off their season.
Thursday saw some exciting performances at the Penny Heyns Swimming Pool in Sasolburg :
The 400m events were swum as straight finals and saw some familiar names to continue to grace the podium.
The woman’s 16&under 400m freestyle saw the exciting Sune’ van der Merwe (Eager Aquatics) produce a comanding performance when she claimed the title comfortably with a 3:39,96 well ahead of Ashleigh Green (Seals) whose 4:50,48 was enough to edge out the promising Kara Vermaak (Tuks) who’s 4:50,55 completed the podium places. The men’s 16&under race it was 13 year old Ruan Breytenbach (Hillcrest) who continues to make waves when he claimed the gold in a time of 4:32,36 ahead of the 15 year old duo of Armand Nortje (Titans) who secured the silver with a 4:32,50. Darius van der Westhuizen (Seals) had to settle for the bronze with his effort of 4:33,49.
The woman’s 400m freestyle 17&over saw Kyna Pereira (Kloof) in a class of her own when she posted a 4:36,04 to secure the title in convincing fashion. Mikal Botha (Tuks) posted a 4:55,52 ahead of Florida’s Jessica De Beer (4:59.90) to complete the podium. In the men’s 400m freestyle it was Ude Fuchs (Eager Aquatics) who continues to impress, when he claimed the title with a 4:20,07 ahead of Seals’ Marco Smith (4:24,42) and stalwart Charl Crous(Kloof) who claimed the bronze in 4:25,95.
The 100m Backstroke events followed :
The woman’s 100m backstroke 16years saw Casey Rip (Seals) let it “rip” when she outclassed her rivals to claim yet another title when she posted a 1:08,43 to secure the gold. A game Sune’ van der Merwe (Eager Aquatics) had to settle for the silver in 1:09,18 while Carmen Botha (Tuks) claimed bronze in 1:10,02. Rip’s teammate Clayton van Staden dominated proceedings in the men’s even with posting a rapid 1:05,53 ahead of Florida’s Alfred Purchase (1:06,82) and Quest’s Daniel van der Westhuizen (1:06,97)
The woman’s 17&over backstroke saw Kyna Pereira (Kloof) continue her domination when she secured the gold with a 1:07,49 well ahead of Tuks’ Mikal Botha (1:11,31) and Florida’s Jessica De Beer (1:14,06). The men’s event saw stalwart Chal Crous claim victory in his pet event in a respectable time of 58,18. This was too fast for the chasing pack headed by Ude Fuchs (1:01,50) who secured the silver. Bronze went to Dagyn Davis Honniball (quest) who posted a 1:02,67.
The 200m Breaststroke events followed :
The woman’s 16 years 200m breaststroke saw Carmen Botha (Tuks) stamp her authority from the gun when she claimed the title with a 2:56.56 well ahead of her rivals in yet another impressive performance. Ashleigh Hunter (Eager Aquatics) secured the silver with a 3:12,09 ahead of Alani Ferreira (Seals) who claimed the bronze in 3:15,32. The men’s 16year old saw Arian Plomp (Tuks) win gold in 2:43,32. Silver went to Kamalan Naidoo (Eager Aquatics) in 2:48,76 while Ruan van der Westhuizen (Sasol) garnered the bronze in 3:14,09. The fact that there were only four finalists was disappointing.
The woman’s 17&over 200m breaststroke saw Cassie Sher (Dol) dominate proceedings in claiming the title comfortably with a time of 2:49,79. Silver went to Jessica De Beer (Florida) who swam a 2:53,26 ahead of Brie Parker (Seals) who’s 2:57,03 secured the bronze. Ude Fuchs (Eager Aquatics) continued to impress when he won the men’s 17&over title with a 2:31,67 ahead of Michael Jones (Seals) who posted a 2:33,32 for the silver. Bronze went to stalwart Charl Crous (Kloof) who recorded a 3:58,83 for the bronze medal.
The men’s 400m IM concluded the individual events :
The men’s 16year 400m IM once again saw the exciting 13 year old Ruan Breytenbach (Hillcrest) dominate proceedings when he claimed the title with a 4:58,47 well ahead of second placed Armand Nortje (Titans) who swam a 5:12,20 ahead of Alfred Purchase (Florida) whose 5:19,61 was enough to secure the bronze edging out Ivan Beukes (Eager Aquatics) who swam a 5:19,66. Ude Fuchs once again proved his versatility when he claimed yet another title winning gold in 4:57,40 in the 17&over age group, The evergreen Charl Crous (Kloof) secured the silver with a 5:06,45 well ahead of third placed Ruben Stolz (Tuks) who finished third in a distant 5:28,34.
With two days of competition left there is sure to be some exciting racing coming up.
Japan’s Olympic bronze medallist Kosuke Hagino has been ruled out of the world swimming championships in Russia after slipping on his way to training and fracturing his elbow, Kyodo News reported on Friday.
Hagino, 20, suffered the injury in France where he was preparing for the Kazan meet which starts on July 24. He was flown back to Tokyo where doctors confirmed the extent of the injury.
“This is even more regrettable because my form had been getting better,” Hagino told reporters. “I’m very sorry for all those who supported me.”
Hagino won bronze in the 400 metre medley at the 2012 London Olympics and was among the favourites to win the event in Russia having taken silver two years ago.
Hagino’s absence is another blow to the event which will miss Olympic champion Yannick Agnel (illness), Michael Phelps (suspension) and Park Tae-hwan (doping ban) among others.
South Africa’s rising sport stars are geared up to shine once again when they showcase their talent against the best university athletes from around the globe at the World Student Games in Gwangju, South Korea between July 3-14.
Team SA finished eighth out of 162 nations at the 2013 edition in Kazan, Russia by securing a total of 14 medals (seven gold, three silver and four bronze).
Chef de mission Nomsa Mahlangu is confident they can again show their class in Gwangju, where they will compete against 169 other countries.
“We have a proud history at the World Student Games, and we believe we are taking a team that will carry the South African flag with pride,” Mahlangu says.
“The national squad includes some of our nation’s most accomplished athletes, as well as a number of rising stars who are eager to showcase their skills, and we feel we can improve on our previous performances at the Games.”
South Africa will be represented by 114 athletes in seven of the 21 sports codes being contested at the 28th edition of the multi-sport showpiece.
The football team were the first to arrive in Gwangju last week, in order to prepare for the tournament, and the rowing team left on Monday.
The athletics, swimming, golf, gymnastics and shooting contingents had a staggered departure schedule starting on Wednesday.
University Sport South Africa (USSA) has wished the team well, as they aim to challenge for glory at the prestigious biennial event.
“We have full confidence in the athletes, and regardless of their results we know they will give their best,” says USSA president Tyrone Pretorius.
“We wish them the best of luck throughout the Games and we trust they will carry the weight of a nation with honour and pride.”
Several partners including various national federations, Lotto and Sport and Recreation South Africa, have made the team’s participation possible.
“The World Student Games is a great platform to showcase what South Africa has to offer the world of Sport. It does not only prepare our young athletes for their future in sport but it also develops talent for our country. We send our young athletes to the world knowing they will hopefully fly the South African flag high and make us proud as a nation therefore giving practical meaning to what we are – a winning nation.” says Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula.
The competition starts on Friday, with the football, volleyball and water polo events getting under way, and the official opening ceremony will be held at the Gwangju Universiade Main Stadium on Saturday.