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Birmingham 2022

Team SA slip down medals table as they fail to add to their haul

David Isaacson Sports reporter
Jayden Lawrence (red) of Australia competes against Edward Lessing (blue) in Birmingham on Friday.
Jayden Lawrence (red) of Australia competes against Edward Lessing (blue) in Birmingham on Friday.
Image: Al Bello/Getty Images

Team SA slipped one spot down the Commonwealth Games medals table to seventh after failing to add to their haul in Birmingham on Friday evening. 

India, as expected, leapfrogged them as they started cashing in at the wrestling, one of their premier codes, where Edward Lessing narrowly missed out on a bronze in the 86kg freestyle division. 

He lost 11-12 to Australian Jayden Lawrence. After trailing 12-6 after the first period Lessing fought back well in the second stanza, winning that 5-0, but it just was not enough.

Kyle Blignaut, sixth in the shot put at the Tokyo Olympics last year, finished seventh after managing a best throw of 19.23m in a competition where 20.57 took bronze. 

Blignaut, who has struggled this season, even gave the world championships a miss to try find some form, but he didn’t find it on the night. His 21.21 personal best would have been good enough for third place only. 

Kiwi star Tom Walsh won gold with a heave of 22.26, and his countryman Jacko Gill took silver on 21.90. 

SA has not finished lower than seventh since 1994, and eighth-placed Nigeria, also a strong wrestling nation, were threatening to overtake as well.

Team SA has seven gold, seven silver and eight bronze, and there are two boxing medals on their way, their colour still to be determined. The men’s hockey team is also in the mix for a podium finish, playing in the semifinals on Saturday. 

Lailaa Edwards and Musfiquh Kalam won their women’s doubles round of 32 match against Uganda 11-6 11-6 6-11 and 11-7 to move into Saturday’s matches. 

Marioné Fourie failed to advance to the 100m hurdles final, hitting the second obstacle hard as she finished third in her heat in 13.04 sec. All eight qualifiers dipped under 13 seconds. 

Lawn bowler Jason Evans went down 21-12 in a men’s singles quarterfinal match to Gary Kelly of Northern Ireland. 

SA’s netballers, who are looking to get among the medals when they play host at the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town, had to settle for sixth place in Birmingham after losing 48-54 to Uganda in their classification match. 

The Proteas won only one quarter, the third by 16-11, but otherwise they played second fiddle. 

They finished a fighting fourth at the last World Cup in England in 2019, but it’s hard to say this side has travelled in any direction since then other than backwards. 

Lilian du Plessis scored to give the women’s hockey team a 1-0 victory over Wales to finish seventh in their competition. 

The Games end on Monday. 

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