KELLY Gunnell produced her best performance ever as she raced to an excellent victory on the final day of the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man this evening (Sunday, 11th September 2011).
Gunnell was involved in a close race with England’s Molly Renshaw in the women’s 200m breaststroke where she made up for a narrow defeat in the 100m event on the opening day. The South African edged out Renshaw by 0.28sec to take the gold in an outstanding personal best of 2:25.22.
Natasha Lloyd (New Zealand) managed to stay marginally ahead for the bronze in 2:27.37 with South African Justine MacFarlane challenging, only to finish in fourth place in 2:28.24.
The gold medal performance from Gunnell raised the level of the South African swimmers as they bounced back with another two bronze medals. Hendrick Alberts came within 0.36sec of the gold in the men’s 200m butterfly – and that is what separated the top three.
Alexander Hancock (New Zealand) stole the gold from Matthew Johnson (England) by just 0.01sec in 1:58.79 – while Alberts had to settle for the bronze in 1:59.15.
Australian duo Te Haumi Maxwell and Chris Raven raced to the gold and silver in the men’s 50m freestyle in 22.00sec and 22.41sec respectively, but Luke Pendock was not far off with an excellent 22.61sec for the final bronze medal for the South Africans, taking the total tally of medals to four better than 2008 with 16 for the championships.
There were a number of encouraging performances in the finals by the team. Marne Erasmus was close to a medal with a fourth in the women’s 100m butterfly, clocking 1:00.32 while the remaining results were: Zaahir Gamiet finished 5th in the 200m individual medley in 2:05.28 and 8th in the 100m backstroke in 57.94; Michelle Weber was 7th in both the women’s 400m individual medley in 4:52.30 and the 200m freestyle in 2:02.68; Chris van der Sande clocked 56.38sec to end 5th in the 100m backstroke; Martin Vogel finished 5th in the men’s 200m butterfly in 2:01.02; the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay team was 5th in 4:11.22 and the men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay ended 6th in 7:34.32.