LONDON - The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) on Thursday praised the men’s rowing team for bagging the country’s third gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
The team’s performance on the water pushed South Africa up to eighth place in the overall medal tally.
Following the heroic showings of Cameron van der Burg and Chad Le Clos in the pool, the South African lightweight rowing team of James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Lawrence Sizwe Ndlovu won their own gold medals in Thursday’s final.
Ndlovu said he is ecstatic about the win and said the gold medal is different in "real life".
“The medal is very big and it is very heavy. It’s clean, it’s gold and it’s shiny.”
Rowing coach Paul Jackson said the win signals new beginnings for rowing in the country.
“It has been the most amazing race I have ever seen. We cannot believe what just happened.”
Surprising Great Britain, Australia and favorites Denmark, they drove to the finish line in a time of six minutes 02:84.
The medals equaled South Africa’s best showing in the post-isolation Olympics, and this was the country’s first rowing medal since 2004.
Britain finished second with Denmark claiming bronze.
Denmark led the race from the start before South Africa and Britain pulled level.
In a final sprint for the line, the South African team got their timing right before collapsing in their boat and looking to the big screens to see whether they had won.
(Edited by Zethu Zulu)