Team SA off to Thailand

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Team South Africa are leaving for Bangkok, Thailand, in dribs and drabs for the World Summer University Games with the last group flying out tomorrow.

"We have a delegation of more than 300 people going to Thailand. It was not possible to get seats on one flight for everybody," said Sassu president Glen Bentley.

"We have divided ourselves into three groups, one left on Tuesday and the second one will fly out today.

"Our preparations went well here at home and we will have a few training sessions in Bangkok for the athletes to acclimatise.

"Top countries like Australia, Jamaica, the United States and England use this tournament to prepare for the Olympics," said Bentley.

The biennial tournament, hosted by the Federation of International University Sports (Fisu), starts from August 8 to 18.

South African Malubethe Ralethe, a Fisu executive board member, said they were expecting about 10 000 athletes to take part in the competition.

"More than 173 countries will take part in the tournament, which is the second largest after the Olympic Games."

Some of the big names in Team South Africa include Leigh Julius, Isaac Mboyaze, Sunette Viljoen and Lukhanyo Mabinza.

Besides athletics, South Africa will participate in soccer, judo, table tennis, gymnastics, golf, taekwondo, basketball, aquatics, tennis and volleyball. It will be for the first time in the history of the tournament that women's softball will also be played.