SA Juniors win gold at Africa Youth Games

The South African junior golf team claimed two gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the Africa Youth Games on Thursday to help boost the Team South Africa’s medal tally in Botswana to a record high of 77.

Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie and Eleonora Galletti took 10 shot lead over Nigeria into the final round of the Team Competition at Gaborone Golf Club and combined for a six stroke victory on 448 to win gold for Team South Africa.

McClatchie added another gold when he won the Boys Competition with rounds of 66, 71 and 75. The 17-year-old from Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate finished six shots ahead of fellow South African Hennie du Plessis on winning score of one-under-par 212.

Du Plessis was embroiled in a tightly-fought battle for second with Zimbabwe’s Stuart Krog, but the Limpopo golfer edged out Krog with a final round 75 to claim second and silver medal on a total score of five-over-par 218.

Galletti, meanwhile, added the bronze medal to their growing tally when she took third in the Girls Competition with rounds of 79, 76 and 78.

Fellow Gauteng golfer, Shawnelle de Lange completed the final round in 78 strokes.

“We are incredibly proud of our victory and to have contributed four medals to Team South Africa’s overall medal count,” McClatchie said.

“The greens at home are quite different to ones at Gaborone Golf Club and we had to work really hard to adjust to the pace here, but in the end, it paid off.

“Winning a gold medal is a great experience, but this was a real team effort. We are all thrilled that we have done South Africa, the South African Golf Association and Womens Golf South Africa proud.”

Du Plessis was equally proud of the team’s achievement.

“I really struggled with the pace in the first round, and the competition was really tough,” he said.

“I was under a lot of pressure from my opponents, but I am happy with the silver medal. This week has been a lot of fun and I’m really proud to have added to South Africa’s medal count.”

Team manager Helena Buitendag was impressed by the team’s debut in the Africa Youth Games.

“This was the first time golf was featured and the players were wonderful ambassadors for South Africa,” Buitendag said.

“The conditions were tough and the greens took a lot of adjusting to, but the team did very well under the circumstances and I am very proud of their achievements.”

Tunisia held the highest medal honours with 58 since the inaugural Games in Morocco four years ago.

However, athletics, canoeing, cycling, fencing, golf, karate and triathlon all got in on the act on Thursday to win a whopping 23 medals for Team South Africa.

The big winners on the day were athletics and karate with five apiece, golf and triathlon were next best with four each and then cycling and fencing had two each and canoeing one.

With three days of competition left before the African Youth Games conclude on Sunday, the current medal count stands at 33 gold, 22 silver and 22 bronze.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of SAGA and WGSA.

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