SA ready for World Student Games in Russia!

University Sport South Africa (USSA) named a team of 93 athletes, across 11 sports, on Tuesday for the global university multi-sport event in Kazan, Russia, between July 6-17.

 “This is a wonderful opportunity for our best student athletes to prepare

for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and other major championships in their

various sports,” said Team SA chef de mission Nomsa Mahlangu.

 “We are confident of our chances, due to the stringent qualifying criteria, and we are certain we will make an impact in the medals table.

 South Africa finished 23rd in the medals table at the 2009 World Student

Games in Belgrade, with nine medals (two gold, two silver and five bronze) their most ever at the biennial event and ended in a tie for 17th in the standings at the 2011 spectacle in Shenzhen, with seven medals (two gold, two silver and three bronze).

 The 12-member swimming contingent in Kazan will be led by London Olympians Leith Shankland and Trudi Maree.

 Giulio Zorzi, who trains with Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh, is also in the squad. Zorzi was fourth in the men’s 50m breaststroke at the 2011 Games and he will hope to go one better by stepping on the podium in Kazan.

 A sizable team of 16 rowers will be headed by Kirsten McCann, who won gold in the lightweight women’s single sculls at last year’s World University Rowing Championships in Kazan.

The country will also send young squads of 18 and 12 men, respectively, for the hockey and rugby sevens competitions.

The sevens rugby team includes a number of players who turned out for the national side that secured the silver medal at the World University Rugby Sevens Championships in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, last year.

The inclusion of some experienced international players has boosted the women’s 18-strong football squad, which boasts the likes of star striker Noko Matlou and former national captain Amanda Dlamini.

Five players, Matlou, Dlamini, Nkosingiphile Zungu, Zamandosi Cele and Charlotte Mshengu were included in the Banyana Banyana training squad for the national team’s most recent matches against Mozambique and Zimbabwe earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the country’s only shooter at the London Olympics, former African double trap champion Alistair Davis, will again lead the lone SA charge in his discipline in Kazan, with his father and coach, Frank, serving as team manager.

South Africa will also have representatives in boxing, canoeing, judo, rhythmic gymnastics and table tennis.

“We are sure that the team we have selected will perform to their best abilities,” said University Sport South Africa president Professor Tyrone Pretorius.

“We wish them the best of luck throughout the Games and urge them to carry the SA flag with pride.”

A record 162 nations will compete in the 27th edition of the World Student Games, which is used by many as a stepping stone to major international championships.

Previous South African medalists include Hezekiel Sepeng, Penny Heyns, Llewellyn Herbert and Frantz Kruger, who all went on to win medals at the Olympic Games.


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