The Youth Olympics is a breeding a ground, a crèche for the freakish, athletic ability human kind can reach. It is the stepping stone to the greatest and oldest sporting competition in the world. The names of Bolt, Semenya, Phelps and many others will outlive the existence of some countries after staking their claim at the Olympic podium. And they all started in the same place. A place where Rhodes student Cody Van Wyk found himself a couple of weeks ago as he represented South Africa in the 5-a-side hockey leg of the games in Nanjing, China.
The South African team were placed in the toughest pool, having to face Australia who they had recently lost a series to in Durban, as well as Bangladesh, Canada and tournament favourite Spain. The men in Green and Gold came fourth in their pool due to a point difference after Australia, Canada and South Africa finished the group on six points all of which went through to the quarter finals.
After white-washing New Zealand 3-0 in the semi-finals, South Africa went through to play their arch rivals Australia, in the semi’s and went down 3-4 in a gruelling encounter. According to Van Wyk, Australia just had the ‘rub of the green’ that day and a red card to South Africa did not help their efforts. They then played Spain in the third/ fourth play-off where Cody and his compatriots went down 7-4, the team in many respects should have been in the final according to the German team.
Despite bailing out in the semis, Cody said it was an amazing experience, “it was incredible, the games were run so efficiently, we are all such good mates in the team and SASCOC did not hold back when it came to giving us kit.”
However, he did complain about the heat, “It was so humid I couldn’t believe it, I have never showered so much in my life. In fact it was so hot one day, the only place that was not hot was the dining hall and we had to walk right around the whole venue to get there but there was a gate right by our hotel that was a shortcut. They never let us walk through it. So what I decided I would fake a faint. I just dropped and my mates picked me up and told the security guards that I needed to get to the medics in the dining hall and these guys just opened the gate for us immediately, it was really so funny!”
Cody Van Wyk plays for Rhodes University, Eastern Province and the South African National age group hockey teams.
Article by: Nicholas McGregor
Article Source: Activate Online
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