SA wins its first medal at Rio Olympics

Cameron van der Burgh has relinquished the title he won four years ago to young sensation Adam Peaty.

Cameron van der Burgh poses on the podium after he won the silver medal in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on 7 August, 2016. Picture: AFP.

RIO DE JANEIRO - South Africa has won its first medal of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as Cameron van der Burgh has taken silver in the 100 metres breastroke. The event was won by Great Britain's Adam Peaty in a new world record time.

Cameron van der Burgh has relinquished the title he won four years ago to young sensation Adam Peaty as he touched second in a time of 58.69 to win silver, South Africa's first medal of Rio 2016.

Peaty put in another stunning performance, shattering his own world record as he clocked 57.13. Cody Miller of the USA was third.

Van der Burgh, renowned for his speed, went out quickly but Peaty's strength and power prevailed as he led at the turn and held on all the way until the finish.

While he will be disappointed in not defending his title, Van der Burgh was beaming afterwards, saying it was the second best night of his swimming career, a moment he'll forever cherish. Peaty over the last two years has largely been in a class of his own and tonight he finally realized his own Olympic dream and in some style to.

The 21-year-old world champion, who clocked 57.55 seconds in Saturday's heats, sliced another hefty chunk off his mark to finish in 57.13 and open his country's medal account at the Games.

"It's surreal to get Team GB's first gold but this is a product of seven years' hard work," said Peaty, who showed no nerves as he walked out and calmly stripped down for the biggest race of his life.

Fastest off the blocks, Peaty made the turn 0.08 of a second inside world record pace and powered down the final 50m like a man determined to exceed the expectations that have built since he won three golds at last year's world championships.

"I gave it everything I've got and I did it for my country. I knew this arena would be absolutely perfect for me," said the Briton.

The last British male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal was Adrian Moorhouse in the same breaststroke event at the 1988 Seoul Games.

The country's only other male champions over the last 100 years were David Wilkie in the 200m breaststroke in 1976 and Duncan Goodhew in the 100m breaststroke in 1980.

Moorhouse, commenting for BBC television, was lost in admiration for a youngster who still lives with his parents in Uttoxeter and was taken to his first swimming lessons after screaming at the sight of bath water.

"He has the technical ability and talent to do this and can then cope with the pressure of the moment and put a bubble around himself and say, 'You know what? I should be here'," the former champion told viewers.

Additional information by Reuters