SOUTH AFRICA – A total of 114 South African athletes will be present to represent their country in Gwangju, South Korea at this year’s Summer Universiade. The South African contingent was confirmed on Wednesday, ahead of the start of the competition on Friday, with the opening ceremony set to take place at the Gwangju Universiade Main Stadium on Saturday.
“We have a proud history at the Universiade, and we believe we are taking a team that will carry the South African flag with pride,” South Africa’s Chef de mission Nomsa Mahlangu Mahlangu says. “The national squad includes some of our nation’s most accomplished athletes, as well as a number of rising stars who are eager to showcase their skills, and we feel we can improve on our previous performances at the Games.”
South Africa finished eighth in the medal standings at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia, earning a total of 14 medals – seven gold, three silver and four bronze. Five of the medalists from the competition two years ago have been included in this year’s squad, as they look to add to their winnings in Russia. They are: Gladwin Mzazi (gold medalist, men’s 21km); Kate Christowitz (silver medalist, rowing women’s 4); Pieter Conradie (bronze medalist, 4x400m) and Justine Palframan and Anneri Ebersohn (bronze medalists, 4x400m).
Team South African will be represented in seven of the 21 sporting codes on show in Gwangju. The athletics squad, which won 11 of the 14 medals earned in Kazan two years ago, has the biggest representation with 42 athletes competing, followed by the men’s and women’s football teams, which total 39 players. Nineteen swimmers are in the team, along with nine rowers and three golfers, with just one gymnast and one participant in the shooting event.
University Sports South Africa President Tyrone Pretorius is confident the athletes selected will represent the nation with pride. “We have full confidence in the athletes, and regardless of their results we know they will give their best,” Pretorius says. “We wish them the best of luck throughout the Games and we trust they will carry the weight of a nation with honour and pride.”
The athletes also received the well wishes of South African Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula. “The Universiade is a great platform to showcase what South Africa has to offer the world of Sport,” he says. “It does not only prepare our young athletes for their future in sport but it also develops talent for our country. We send our young athletes to the world knowing they will hopefully fly the South African flag high and make us proud as a nation therefore giving practical meaning to what we are – a winning nation.”
The 114 South African athletes will be accompanied by 41 officials, which include Team Leaders, coaches, physicians and other delegates, totaling the entire contingent to 155 members.
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