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Sunday, 08 August 2021 09:50

Curtain comes down on SA's Tokyo Olympic campaign as Jobodwana named flagbearer.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, SASCOC,has announced that athlete Anaso Jobodwana has been named as the flagbearer for Team SA at the Closing Ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday night.

The ceremony will officially close the global sporting showpiece that started on 23 July and which has proven to be a triumph of the human spirit over adversity. 

The president of SASCOC, Barry Hendricks, offered his congratulations to Jobodwana.

"This is a tremendous honour for Anaso for whom this is a third Olympics. He is still only 29 and he is now one of the leaders of Team SA's sprinters who have risen up the world rankings. He is an inspirational young man and recently the community of Phakamisa in the Eastern Cape unveiled a wall mural of him.

"That shows how respected he is in the community and he represents all that is good about our wonderful country. We are proud to have Anaso carrying the flag,"  Hendricks added.

Team South Africa will leave the Tokyo Olympics with three medals - their worst return at the Games since Beijing 2008. 

Having taken their largest ever squad of athletes to an Olympics, South Africa's only podium joy came from breaststroker Tatjana Schoenmaker and surfer Bianca Buitendag.

Schoenmaker was sensational, winning silver in the 100m breaststroke before claiming gold and a new world record in the 200m, while Buitendag was a surprise package for most South Africans. 

Those achievements were enough to place South Africa in 52nd position on the overall medals table.

At Rio 2016, Team South Africa walked away with 10 medals - two gold, six silver, two bronze - in their most successful Olympics since they were allowed to compete after international isolation at Barcelona 1992. 

At Beijing 2008, however, South Africa endured an even worse Olympic campaign and won only one medal - a silver through long-jumper Khotso Mokoena.

SA Olympic medals by year:

Barcelona 1992 - 2 (2 silver)

Atlanta 1996 - 5 (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

Sydney 2000 - 5 (2 silver, 3 bronze)

Athens 2004 - 6 (1 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze)

Beijing 2008 - 1 (1 silver)

London 2012 - 6 (4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

Rio 2016 - 10 (2 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze)

Tokyo 2020 - 3 (1 gold, 2 silver).

The Summer Games, which were delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bore witness to great moments of triumph, history, and the crackdown on gender barriers.

The theme of "Moving Forward" will be consistent with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind and social distancing will be adhered to all performances during the Olympics Closing ceremony.