Three South African cyclists – Michelle Benson, Stefan de Bod and Ivan Venter – currently competing at the African Youth Games in Botswana, added to Team South Africa’s medal tally in the Individual Time Trial discipline on Tuesday 27 May 2014.
With each nation only allowed to enter two girls and two boys each into the Individual Time Trial event, it was Michelle Benson (Hoërskool Waterkloof) who was the first to garner a gold medal along the fast-and-flat 10.4km circuit in Gaborone. Starting second-from-last, Benson set off with the gold medal in mind as she strongly overtook eight of her rivals, who had started at 30-second intervals ahead of her. Benson’s gold medal winning time was 15 minutes and 18 seconds.
Sixteen seconds off the bronze medal time was South Africa’s second competitor, Frances du Toit, who clocked 00:16:23 to finish in fourth place.
Benson spoke to Road to Rio’s Mark Etheridge: “I went out really hard and then thought I may have gone too hard so in the middle section I took it a bit easier. Then I went hard again for the last two kilometres. This is an important title for me because I hope it will get me to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, later this year.”
The boys’ race yielded a gold and silver medal for South Africa on the 20km course. Stefan de Bod (Paul Roos Gymnasium) walked away with a gold medal after his efforts saw him catch the rider ahead of him. De Bod was the second rider in the last of four waves to set off, and he claimed victory in a time of 26 minutes and 51 seconds. Ivan Venter finished a few seconds behind De Bod’s winning time, to claim a silver medal in 00:27:07.
De Bod told Road to Rio: “I’m very proud to have won a gold medal for my country and this is my second big win at junior level after I won the road race at the SA Nationals in Durban in February this year.”
The road race is currently underway today, Wednesday 28 May, to be followed by the mountain bike cross-country races on Friday 30 May.
Summary of Results – African Youth Games ITT – Tuesday 27 May 2014
- Michelle Benson 00:15:18 South Africa
- Ebtissam Zayed 00:15:22 Egypt
- Sylvia Odom 00:16:07 Nigeria
- Frances Du Toit 00:16:23 South Africa
- Stefan De Bod 00:26:51 South Africa
- Ivan Venter 00:27:07 South Africa
- Salim Keddah 00:27:34 Algeria
Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA