Updated: Mar 9
These games will also go down in the record books as another exceptional performance for South Africa since its readmission to the sporting world past 1994 for the rainbow nation. What stood out at these games more than previous gatherings was its inclusivity; which provided participation for both abled and disabled sporting persons with more exposure, engagement, support and recognition for disabled athletes.
The inclusion of Para-sports started in 2002 in Manchester and the 2018 games build on this multi-sporting games mandate; thereby ensuring equality for all participants and no longer as exhibition participation.
This time around the notable difference was the educational component of the games, which provided audiences with infographics on screen, which helped to identify the various codes and the categories the disabled athletes will compete in.
Another achievement for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is it is the first time in its history; there are equal numbers of events for both men and women for 71 competing nations.
“We look forward to working with CGF to develop the possibilities of athletes with a disability at the Commonwealth Games and within the Commonwealth. This partnership will help to galvanize Paralympic sports development in Commonwealth countries/territories and seek to create and promote greater opportunities in sport for athletes with a disability.”
— IPC President Sir Philip Craven
South Africa’s leading lady Caster Semenya was the flag bearer for Team South Africa and she did not disappoint with her acceptance of the honour to carry the country flag. Two gold medals bagged and one games record for the women’s 1500m were more than good enough for Olympic and World Champion to endorse her status as bearer of the flag at the games.
Viewers were spoiled for choice for the duration of the games from 4-15 April 2018 on various channels dedicated to the broadcast of most of the sporting codes live from the Gold Coast in Australia, with highlights packages to catch-up on the top results for each day as experienced.
South Africa did it again with a gold and bronze medal in the men’s long jump event at the games. Luvo Manyonga who also won the gold medal at the World Championships two years ago with Ruswahl Samaai taking the bronze once again in Australia similar outcome two years ago at the world champs. Akani Simbine took gold in the men’s 100m event. The first gold medal for the country in this event since readmission to the international sporting world; his team mate Henricho Bruintjies won silver in the same event. We also saw another new South African record for the quartet of Henricho Bruintjies, Emile Erasmus, Anaso Jobodwana and Akani Simbine in the men’s 4x100m relay at the games. Explosive stuff!
Our swimming Team performed exceptionally well with three gold medals for Le Clos, Van den Burgh and best performing female swimmer Tatjana Shoemaker in recent years, all in one evening. Their achievement on the night really propelled the pride sentiment of the country to another level. le Clos in the end won three gold medals in total and Schoemaker two gold’s in her events. South Africa’s female swimmers have not performed well internationally in recent years and Shoemakers’ medal dominance is a strong indication our females swimmers are back to claim their position on the global stage.
There were reports that some of the athletes went missing during the games. In total 14 athletes were mentioned as not reporting to their Teams during certain intervals; some of the missing athletes were spotted at the Sun Coast immigration offices, in Australia. Athletes from Sierra Leone in particular were identified as some of those who are still missing. Overwhelmingly, the responses by the public in general were empathetic when the news first came to light, due to the ongoing civil war and instability in that country as an example.
The African athletes really step up to the plate at these games. Botswana in particular took all the honours in the 400 meters races for men and women; with gold medals for both sexes in this event. Their 4x400 meters teams took gold for the men’s team and the women walk away with the bronze award.
South Africa participated in 14 sporting codes in total. The codes were: athletics, badminton, bowls, boxing, cycling (mountain bike, road, and track), gymnastics, hockey, netball, rugby sevens, shooting, and table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling. South Africa's gold and silver medals in the men's T12 100m won by Ndodomzi Ntutu and Hilton Langehoven got everyone in the stadium to share in their triumph with excitement.
The expectations were high for the South African Team to perform well this time around in Australia, especially after their seventh overall finish in Glasgow four years ago, total medal tally of 40 (13 gold, 10 silver and 17 bronze).
Team SA finished sixth overall at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a total of 37 medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze medals). Three medals less than the previous games especially in the bronze category. India finished third overall ahead of Canada in fourth place. Our Team managed to achieve the top African country at the games raking. Congratulations to the host nation with the overall top finish position, with 198 medals in total, with 80 gold medals.