Friday, 30 July 2021

Tokoyo: Tatjana Schoenmaker scooped South Africa’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Games in the women’s 200m breaststroke in a world record on Friday morning.

The 24 year-old South African smashed the 2:19.11 world record held by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen since 2013.

With a two minute 18.95 second mark, Schoenmaker has achieved the first individual world record of this gala.

She is the 10th South African to have won multiple medals at single Games, and the fourth since readmission, after Penny Heyns, Roland Schoeman at the Athens 2004 games, and Chad Le Clos in London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, joined in to congratulate Schoenmaker in her achievement.

Mthethwa said South Africa is incredibly proud of Schoenmaker who has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that “South Africa is indeed a nation of winners”.

“She set the pace from the onset of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first female South African swimmer to win an Olympic medal in 21 years. She is a true ambassador of the nation and a living example that hard work and dedication truly pay off.” Mthethwa said in a statement.

Schoenmaker was the top seed in the 200m breaststroke going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and upon achieving this momentous feat she said: “I would never have even thought!”.

“This is my first Olympics so for me to get a lane into the final, then everyone stands a chance. That’s the thing I’ve always believed in. So I’ve exceeded, or God has exceeded, all my expectations so I couldn’t be happier.” said an elated Schoenmaker.

On Tuesday, the athlete bagged a silver medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke final.