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Getting to know SA’s Gold Medalists at the Commonwealth Games

South Africa has showcased a brilliant effort at the Commonwealth Games. These are the gold medalists who have been flying the flag high.

 

South Africa’s sporting talent is world renowned in nearly every category. Our athletes are known to win gold and break records. The Commonwealth Games is the perfect platform, outside of the Olympics and general competition, for our athletes to showcase just how amazing they are on a global scale.

A few names have been constant in the media but others are new to the world stage so we decided to share some information on each of the gold medalists. This is more about the athletes themselves, instead of their accomplishments.

At the time of posting, these were all the gold medelists. Updates to follow.

Henri Schoeman

Henri Schoeman was the first South African to win a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He won his gold competing in the men’s triathlon on the 5th of April.

Henri comes from a sporting family, his brother, Riaan Schoeman is a South African swimmer who has competed in the Olympics. Born in Vereeniging, Henri started his athletic career in school where he performed well. He was a long-distance swimmer but made the switch over to triathlons in his mid-teens. During his late teens, he suffered a stress fracture which put him out of competing for 2 years. Then in 2011, he was in a motorbike accident that injured his legs.

He bounced back from the accident and strengthened his legs even more. When he started competing again, his legs were stronger than ever.

Commonwealth Games

Credit: Henri Schoeman / Twitter

Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos was born in Durban to a South African mother and Mauritian father of French descent. He started out playing football, which he still attributes as his first love. His competitive nature eventually led to training as a swimmer. He started from a very young age. At the age of 10, he started competing and has worked his way up since then.

Chad is very close with his family and keeps a large part of his life very private. What we do know is that he isn’t done yet and plans to make many more memorable sporting moments.

Silver Medal Olympics Rio 2016 Chad Le Clos

Credit: Unknown / On File

Tatjana Schoenmaker

There is very little known about this Team SA newcomer. Tatjana has been swimming for Tuks for many years. She is currently studying Financial Sciences.

She has a bright future ahead of her. Her coach has said that she is working hard and that she will be at her best in 2020.

We look forward to learning more about SA’s up-and-coming golden girl. Stay tuned!

Credit: Getty Images

Cameron van der Burgh

Cameron van der Burgh was born in Pretoria. He has had a successful swimming career but what he has done with his time outside of the swimming pool is even more amazing.

Cameron used his winning from the Olympics to feed children in the Alexandra township. He has also been linked with various charities in South Africa. He was voted the 7th best-dressed man in SA by GQ magazine in 2012. He also makes appearances around the country giving motivational speeches.

When he retires from the sport, he hopes to take on an entrepreneurial role and start his own business. Cameron has said that these Commonwealth games will most likely be his last so it is great to see him winning gold.

Credit: Peter Sukenik / www.petersukenik.com

Akani Simbine

Akani Simbine was born in Kempton Park, Gauteng. His teacher, the head of sports, saw his promising skill and encouraged him to pursue athletics instead of a soccer career. They looked to find a coach but the options were all too far away from where he lived.

Akani’s father was reading the paper when he found an advert for a sprinting coach looking for an athlete to train. That was when he met his coach and the pair have been together ever since. Akani struggled at first and kept at his soccer playing but eventually, his parents had him pick one and he chose athletics.

His coach nicknamed him “Mr Chill” because he never seemed to show any nerves before a race, Akani disagree’s though and insists he was always shaking. He is now known as AK. Akani and Henricho Bruintjies are very close outside of the arena, as they were once housemates.

Credit: Getty Images

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya was born in Limpopo and has three other siblings. She started running as a way to train for soccer, much like Akani did. It was during that training that her passion for running blossomed. She studied Sports Science at the University of North West.

Despite facing many challenging events throughout her sporting career, Caster has held her head high and worked hard to break stigmas within the sporting world and her personal life. Because of her dignified response to critics, she fast became a beloved icon in South Africa.

She was asked to carry the South African flag during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. She has won the title of South African Sportswoman of the year in 2012. No matter what the future brings, we know Caster will always make South Africa proud.

Caster Semenya

Credit: On File / Unknown

Luvo Manyonga

Luvo Manyonga was raised in the Mbekweni township of Paarl. His mother was a domestic worker and she did what she could, to make sure he had a good upbringing. From a young age, he became involved in track and field sports. It was during this time his talent for long jump emerged.

After many successes, he won big money at one of his events, which began the unravelling of his life. Friends and family became dependant on him and he quickly spiralled into debt. His coach took on the financial responsibility for his family but Luvo had already started to slip. He developed an addiction to tik, a cheaper form of crystal meth and was eventually suspended from competition. He relapsed during a second tough time in his life before he was offered a place to live and train that was away from his demons. He moved from Cape Town to the University of Pretoria’s High-Performance Centre.

Since then, Luvo has gone from strength to strength in his sporting career and is a shining example of how dedication can help one overcome almost anything.

Luvo Manyonga

Credit: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Ndodomzi Jonathan Ntutu

Ndodomzi Ntutu is visually impaired sprinter for Team SA. He was born Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town. His parents were not well off but they worked hard to ensure he got a good education and enrolled him in the Athlone School for the Blind. While Ndodomzi isn’t fully blind, he does have limited sight.

He has done well throughout his athletics career and has represented South Africa at multiple competitions including three Paralympics.

Ndodomzi has been an inspiration to aspiring athletes in the T12 category and has continiously made South Africans proud.

Credit: On File / Unknown


Sources: Wikipedia
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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