Blasts from the past: SA’s first black Commonwealth champ
Today in SA sports history: May 25
1889 — In only their second Test match, SA are annihilated by England in Cape Town, losing by an innings and 202 runs. Batting first, the visitors scored 292, with opener Bobby Abel officially becoming the first batsman to score a century against SA, top-scoring with 120. The match, scheduled for three days, was over inside two, with SA bowled out twice for 47 and 43. Only Fred Smith reached double figures for SA in the second innings, scoring 11 off 28 balls. That would remain SA’s heaviest Test defeat until 1950.
1907 — SA-born Andrew Jephtha becomes the first boxer of colour to win a British boxing title when he knocks out Curly Watson, the British Empire and English welterweight champion, in the fourth round of their scheduled 20-rounder at Mile End in London. Jephtha, who boxed in Cape Town from 1895 to 1901, furthered his career in England, but suffered a detached retina in one of his ring wars. Fighting too soon after undergoing surgery to correct the problem didn’t help, and he ended up going blind.
2006 — Bongani Mwelase wins SA’s first Commonwealth Games boxing champion of the post-isolation era when he outpoints Mahimal Viljender of India 33-26 in the welterweight final in Melbourne. The triumph also made Mwelase SA’s first black Games boxing gold medallist ever. He might have achieved Olympic success too, but instead turned professional soon afterwards. Meanwhile, Viljender went on to win India’s first-ever Olympic boxing medal, a bronze, at the 2008 Beijing Games.
2006 — Also at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, hurdler LJ van Zyl ran the final leg of the 4x400m relay. He takes the baton in fifth place and gives chase, but comes out of the final bend boxed in. So Van Zyl, who had won the 400m hurdles a few days earlier, moved to the outside on the home straight to overtake rivals from Jamaica, England and Nigeria and secure the silver medal for SA.
2015 — Bafana Bafana beat Swaziland 3-1 in a friendly in Mbabane. All four goals came in the second half. Thulani Hlatshwayo headed in the first, with Thabo Mnyamane netting the second before Felix Badenhorst pulled one back for the hosts. Substitute Mandla Masango scored SA’s third in the 86th minute.
2017 — Bafana Bafana score through two penalties as they beat Guinea-Bissau 3-1 at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. Kermit Erasmus and Andile Jali scored from the spot, while Percy Tau was the only SA player to score in open play. Aldair scored for the visitors.
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