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But 'Die Stem' mars occasion

By unknown | Jul 16, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

South Africa continued raking in the medals on the third day of the All Africa Games 2007 currently under way in Algiers, Algeria.

South Africa continued raking in the medals on the third day of the All Africa Games 2007 currently under way in Algiers, Algeria.

By late yesterday, South Africa was perched at the top with a total haul of 40 medals - 17 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze.

However, the games hit an all-time low for South Africans attending, especially for Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile.

During a medal ceremony late yesterday, the minister and South African swimmers were subjected to the rendition of the old national anthem - Die Stem.

Stofile walked out of the ceremony and vented his anger at the organisers. He said the incident was an insult to the country.

He was quoted by the SABC as saying: "That was not the South African national anthem, that was Die Stem of the apartheid era and there is no way I can stand in front of our flag while they sing the song. It's a big insult to the country of South Africa. We can't fight for so many years against that song and have it sung at our championship."

It was the swimmers who saw the weekend turnaround after pretenders Tunisa had taken an early lead.

South Africans have snatched three golds out of six medals overall on the third day of the 9th All Africa Games swimming event contested on Saturday afternoon in the Olympic Pool, where four Games records were literally shattered.

In the men's event, South Africa won two gold medals and three overall. Cameron van der Burgh, in the 50m breaststroke (27,74) and George du Rand in the 200m backstroke (2:02.69) claimed top spot.

Thabang Moeketsane won South Africa's silver medal of the day in the 50m breaststroke final (28,89).

Algeria earned their second gold in as many days thanks to Salim Iles (49,38) who was neck-and-neck with teammate Nabil Kebbab (49,82), who won the silver.

Men swimmers have smashed two Games records and Algerians beat their own. Van der Burgh improved his teammate's 2003 record ((28,69) clocking 27,74.

Algeria's Iles beat the other Games record formerly held by the day's bronze medallist, Kenyan Jason Dunford (50,44) clocking a time of 49,38.

In the women's event, Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry, a multi-Olympic medallist (Athens 2004), snatched two gold medals for her country in the 100m backstroke (1:01.28) and 800m freestyle (8.43.89), shattering both Games records previously held by South Africans Romy Altmann (1:02 .89) since 2003 and Robyn Bradley (9:06 .00) since 1995.


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