Please enter your login details

You can also sign in with your Sowetan LIVE,
Times LIVE account details.
   Sign Up   Forgot password?

Sign in with:

     
 
Wed Apr 23 21:32:06 SAST 2014

Ndlovu hopes gold will improve SA rowing's image

Sapa-AFP | 02 August, 2012 16:161 Comments
South Africa's Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain and James Thompson celebrate with their gold medals at the victory ceremony after winning the men's lightweight four finals rowing event during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney August 2, 2012
Image by: Eddie Keogh / REUTERS

South Africa stunned favourites Great Britain and Denmark to claim their first ever Olympic rowing gold medal in the lightweight men’s four on Thursday in front of a 25,000 crowd.

All eyes were on the host nation to follow up Wednesday’s gold in the women’s pairs, and Denmark, champions at the Beijing Games four years ago.

But the South Africa four — James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu — gate-crashed their party in gripping fashion.

The 29-year-old Ndlovu, who took up the sport at school in 1997, told AFP of the enormity of winning South Africa’s first Olympic rowing title.

“Rowing is big in schools but otherwise financially it’s an expensive sport,” he said.

“So this gold will be good for South Africa’s rowing community and help give it a better image.” 

The only black member of the triumphant crew, whose parents have both passed away, added: “This is so exciting, amazing...I took rowing up at school in 1997, and now I’m standing here. My brothers and sisters are supporting me back home.” 

Seemingly out of contention in the first 1500m, South Africa exploded in the closing quarter to overhaul the Danes and then Britain to rewrite their country’s and the Games’ rowing history.

Denmark took control from the start, with Britain, featuring Northern Ireland brothers Richard and Peter Chambers, looking dangerous in lane three.

The British four started to press Denmark, for whom Eskildi Ebbesen was seeking a fourth Olympic title.

But the big guns had no answer to South African’s finishing surge, the winning crew falling over themselves in jubilation after crossing the line in front of a capacity crowd at Eton Dorney.

“We stuck to our game plan,” reflected Ndlovu.

“We knew Denmark would start strongly, and we had one call — to go for it in the last 500 metres. It worked.” 

World champions Australia came in fourth.

To submit comments you must first

Join the discussion & Debate

Ndlovu hopes gold will improve SA rowing's image

For Commenters Consideration | Please stick to the subject matter
Wed Apr 23 21:32:06 SAST 2014 ::

COMMENTS [1]

HI MY NAME IS ELLEN MAKHUBELE WORKING @ HOTEL TZANEEN WHERE THE ROWING TEAM WERE STAYING BEFORE THEY WENT TO ENGLAND! I AM SO HAPPY FOR THEM I STILL CANT BELIEVE THEY HAVE WON.....


SIZWE BIG UP 2 YOU MAN, WE ARE VERY PROUND OF YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!


HAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPY