A list of South Africans competing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, August 17 (SA times):
12:52 - Women’s first round: Paula Reto tees off in the third group of the morning, alongside Nicole Larsen or Denmark and In Gee Kun of Korea.
14:47 - Women’s first round: Ashleigh Simon tees off in a group that also includes Harukyo Nomura of Japan and Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden.
What to expect: The men’s golf competition had received a lot of negative publicity in the build-up, with a slew of big names withdrawing, many citing the Zika virus. However, Justin Rose held off Henrik Stenson and the subsequent feedback was that golf belongs in the Olympics. Almost unanimously, those who competed, reckoned they’d love to be back in Tokyo 2020. Lee-Ann Pace is South Africa’s highest-ranked player, but she withdrew, allowing Simon to represent her country with Reto.
14:38 - Men’s Decathlon, 100m, heat 2: Willem Coertzen
17:15 - Men’s Decathlon, Shot Put, Group A: Willem Coertzen
22:45 - Men’s Decathlon, High Jump, Group B: Willem Coertzen
02:28 Thursday - Men’s Decathlon, 400m, Heat
What to expect: Reigning Olympic champion Ashton Eaton is the overwhelming favourite to take the gold medal in this most gruelling of events. He’s almost unbackable at odds of 1-10. Damian Warner (7-1) is the second favourite and Arthur Abele (16-1). Coertzen is considered a 100-1 outsider. However, he is a strong sprinter and could well win his heat to get off to a good start in the competition.
In the shot put, Coetzen bumps into Eaton, who has a season’s best 15.06m. Coertzen’s PB is a 14.50m and his season’s best is 13.76m.
High jump is a strong event for the South African and while his PB is a 2.08m, should he produce his best for the year, a 2.0m, then he’ll stand a big chance of leapfrogging a few places up the overall standings.
In the 400m, Coertzen races in lane seven and he can take inspiration from Wayde van Niekerk’s performance in the elite final, when he led from start to finish in lane eight. Coertzen will be hoping for a strong lap to give him momentum leading into Thursday’s second day of competition.
01:30 Thursday - Men’s Javelin, qualifying, Group A: Rocco van Rooyen
What to expect: Van Rooyen is going to have to bring his ‘A’ game to the Olympic stadium because qualifying is tough. Automatic qualifying is 83.0m, or the top 12 of the 19 starters. Van Rooyen qualified a while ago but then battled with an arm injury. He threw his way through the pain just a while back to try and prove that he is worth his spot. Now is the time to deliver that promise.
15:27 - Men’s 5 000m, heat 2: Elroy Galant
What to expect: Galant this season clocked a personal best 13min 04.88sec, which places him fifth in the list of entries, on paper. Two Ethiopians have just snuck under 13 minutes this season, but the South African will fancy his chances of progressing to the semi-finals. The top five in each heat, along with the next fastest five overall qualify.
16:02 - Women’s 800m, Caster Semenya
What to expect: South Africans know how to grab the headlines. Earlier this week it was Wayde van Niekerk who obliterated Michael Johnson’s world record by winning the 400m gold in 43:03. Now it’s Semenya’s turn. She is regarded as close to a gold medal certainty as there is. Semenya will be easing into her work in this heat before the more important two races that lie ahead.
15:05 - Women’s Kayak Single, 500m, heat 2: Bridgitte Hartley
What to expect: Hartley, by her own admission, is a slow starter and she used the 200m (where she reached the ‘B’ final) to sharpen her starting skills and get a feel of the conditions in Rio. She memorably won a bronze medal in London four years ago and will be giving everything to try to repeat the feat. She will be in lane six and needs to be in the first six to progress to the semi-finals.
19:34 - Men’s Seeding Run: Kyle Dodd
What to expect: The seeding run merely decides the order in which the riders start in the quarter-finals. Dodd goes out first of the 32 riders, so he needs to put up a good time, to try to make an early statement.
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