Weekend Sports Wrap: Team SA, Boks & Manchester clubs

After an action-packed weekend of sport, Carl Lewis takes a look at the biggest talking points.

South Africa’s Caster Semenya celebrates after she won the Women’s 800m Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on 20 August, 2016. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The past weekend has been filled with many memorable sporting moments, with South Africa's Olympic team meetings its medal target, the national rugby team discovering that there is much to improve about their game and both Manchester football clubs working to regain their pride.


The Olympics has once again exhibited what a unifying medium sport can be for a nation. After Caster Semenya charged to her first ever Gold medal in the 800m final and South Africa's 10th medal, there was the immediate and predicted furore over her participation due to her high testosterone levels.

Sixth-placed Lynsey Sharp felt the wrath of South Africans over social media after her comments post-race.

"It is out of our control and how much we rely on people at the top sorting it out. The public can see how difficult it is with the change of rule but all we can do is give it our best," said Sharp, which sent social media into uproar over her apparent bitterness at Semenya's dominance.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) believes hyperandrogenic athletes should not be allowed to compete unless they take action to suppress their naturally high testosterone levels.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) went against the IAAF's ruling, saying they need to provide evidence proving precisely how much the hyperandrogenic athletes benefit over their competitors.

After facing a bombardment of opinions regarding her comments, Sharp released a statement stating she has a "tremendous amount of respect" for Semenya and felt her answer was "honest and diplomatic".

However, the Games were not just about the indomitable Semenya; Wayde Van Niekerk became the most celebrated man in South Africa when he stormed his way to gold in the 400m final. In the process, breaking the longstanding (17-year) world record set by the iconic American Michael Johnson. If you were alive to see Johnson in his pomp you would easily understand the enormity of Van Niekerk's achievement.

There was also an inspiring story of sheer determination and human triumph as Luvo Manyonga came within centimetres of Olympic gold in the long jump. He had to settle for silver but South Africa had another hero to celebrate especially considering the Paarl resident's incredible personal story.

As usual, the swimmers did their bit in the pool; veteran Cameron Van Der Burgh provided the nation with one last stellar performance to come second in the 100m breaststroke, the former gold medallist called time on his memorable career. Chad Le Clos claimed a double silver in the in the 100m freestyle (his secondary event) and the ultra-competitive 200m butterfly discipline. He had to tussle with world champion Laszlo Cseh and the record Olympian Michael Phelps in the butterfly event, eventually tying with both for the silver medal. Luckily for South Africa, Le Clos has promised more gold medals in the future.

The rowing pair of Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain proudly won silver as rowing increasingly becomes a sport where South African can excel at. The Blitzboks showed flashes of brilliance but have to be content with their bronze medal in rugby's return to the Games.

Henri Schoeman's bronze in the triathlon got lost amongst the track and field achievements, the Vereeniging born athlete delivered an outstanding and unexpected performance. In a field where he perhaps did not stand out as a potential podium finisher, Schoeman's display is worthy of praise for some time to come.

Meanwhile, Sunnete Viljoen confirmed her status as one of the nation's best ever athletes as he threw her way to silver in the javelin.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) had set out their target of 10 medals and Team South Africa duly achieved that, the hope now is that both Sascoc and corporate South Africa support the next group of athletes that have the ability to reach even greater heights when Games reaches Tokyo in 2020.


After a positive opening in Nelspruit, the Boks lost their way in their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at the Mbombela Stadium, eventually wining 30-23. Warren Whitele 's try in the dying minutes saved the Boks from the embarrassment of a second consecutive poor result at home against the ever impressive South Americans.

The home side were their own worst enemies, their showing was littered by unforced errors with ball in hand, poorly executed kicks coupled with frustratingly poor decision making. If you compare the Boks with the All Blacks, who whacked the Wallabies 42-8 in Sydney, there is no doubt the gap between the two nations is widening with each match.

There were a couple of positives to yield from the match - one being the robust performance of flanker Oupa Mohoje, who was tireless in defence (13 tackles) and persistently willing on attack. Also, the resolve shown by the Springboks should be commended, they stayed composed to eventually win a Test match they could easily have lost.

Allister Coetzee's tenure is still in its infancy and like any coach he needs time for his ideas to mature and resonate within the camp. The Boks still have five matches in the competition and one hopes that the more time they spend together, the more cohesive the unit will become.

Their trip to Argentina will be another test of character for the youthful squad, in what in likelihood will be a partisan crowd in Salta on Saturday. Also it is another opportunity for the Boks to make a much needed statement for the fans at home who are becoming increasingly anxious about the national teams' performances this year. More time on the training field will assist with the fluidity on the pitch whilst Coetzee must address the worrying amount of unforced errors being made on match day.

Manchester clubs intent on correcting last season

A perfect start for both Manchester clubs and their high profile new managers in the Premier League. In the first Friday night match of the season, A Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Southampton. The giant Swede bagged a brace with a commanding header and then again from the penalty spot on a barmy evening at Old Trafford (OT).

The night was also significant in that world record signing Paul Pogba made his first start since his return to his former club, and the Frenchman made an exciting beginning to his second stint at United after a shaky start in the opening minutes. The £89.3m man gave the OT faithful a taste of what to expect in the future with his enterprise and creativity in the middle of the park.

The blue half of the city will also be in high spirits as Jose Mourinho's foe (Pep Guardiola) made light work of Premier League urban legend regarding Stoke City's home ground. They scored four goals in typically gusty conditions at the Stadium formerly known as the Britannia to come home with a 4-1 win.

Under Pep Guardiola, City have now scored 11 goals in three matches while his distinct tactical preferences are also coming to the fore (A 4-1-4-1 system that transcends into a 2-3-2-3 or a 3-2-2-3) but perhaps his most impressive achievement so far is the confidence instilled in his players.

Striker Sergio Aguero looks in imperious form as he bagged a brace off the back of his midweek Champions League hat-trick. An additional positive for the Citizens is new signing Nolito, he got his name on the scoresheet with two second half goals whilst the much maligned Raheem Sterling is demonstrating improvement in his game under the new manager.

Both clubs have paid out significant sums of money after a season to forget last time around, with two of the most decorated manager's in European football, nothing short of a strong league challenge will be seen as a success.

To borrow an old cliché, the Premier League is a marathon and not a sprint but both sets of fans will be buoyed by what they have witnessed thus far, which are convincing wins with their 'big' players is putting their hand up. The rivalry between Mourinho and Guardiola also provides an intriguing sub plot to the battle for superiority in the city of Manchester.