While the national squad continued to slip down the medal table as they struggled to put up a fight across a variety of codes, Team SA managed to secure four more medals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday.
After progressing to the gold medal match in the men’s freestyle 97kg division, wrestler Nicolaas de Lange lost to Canada’s Nishan Randhawa.
De Lange did enough, however, to secure the silver medal, delivering the best result for South Africa on day nine of the multi-sport Games.
On the athletics track, former world junior champion Zeney van der Walt did well to grab the bronze medal in the women’s 400m hurdles final.
Van der Walt dipped on the line to take third place in 54.47 – missing out on silver by less than one hundredth of a second (0.01) – with the 22-year-old athlete setting a personal best and preventing a Jamaican sweep of the podium.
There were also two bronze medals for the SA team in the boxing ring, with Phiwokuhle Mnguni and Simnikiwe Bongco securing podium places.
Mnguni lost to Michaela Walsh of Northern Ireland in the women’s featherweight semifinals, and Bongco lost to Australia’s Callum Peters in the men’s middleweight semifinals.
With the losing semifinalists in boxing receiving bronze medals, rather than having to fight again, they both shared third place in their divisions.
And though they were edged out by former giants India in the men’s hockey tournament, the SA team were still in with a shout for a medal.
After going down 3-2 in their semifinal, South Africa were set to face hosts England in the bronze medal match on Monday’s final day of competition at the Games.
After nine days of competition in Birmingham, the national squad were lying eighth in the overall standings with 26 medals (seven gold, eight silver and 11 bronze).