Sports History 101

I love History and always try to research on the subject o whatever project I am busy with. I have recently just finished a book on Clarens in the Eastern Free State that I hope to publish soon and have spent nearly 7 years researching a political/military history book about Mozambique and South Africa……..However I am going off on a tangent so “without further ado” or “Guilding your Lilly” (I have no idea what it means but sounds good) here is the Info that I came up with.

South Africa’s first motor endurance test was a run from Cape Town to Houw Hoek over the precipitous Sir Lowry’s pass in 1903. The winner being a Mr S Benjamin driving a De Dion. ( as a matter of interest the countries first serious motor accident also took place in Cape Town in 1903 when Charles Garlic and two mates drive their 24 horsepower “hold me back Schummie” Darracq onto the railway line at Maitland and are hit by the Johannesburg express)

In 1906 the national Rugby squad goes overseas for its first ever tour, led by Paul Roos South Africa establishes themselves as a true rugby playing country. They won all but 2 of their 29 games scoring 608 points and only conceding 68. It was on this tour that the Springbok as their national Emblem was adopted

In 1908 South Africa officially takes part in the Olympic games for the first time when a team of 14 athletes travel to London. The 100m sprint is won by South African Reggie Walker (overlooked by selectors and had made his own way to London) in a time of 10.8 seconds. South African Charles Hefferon picks up a Silver medal in the marathon

In July 1912 Potcehstroom Policeman Kenneth McArthur wins Gold in the marathon at the Stockholm Olympics with another South African Christopher Gitsam coming second, what makes Gitshams performance remarkable is that he had never competed in a marathon in his life before.

Talk about keeping it in the family. In 1913 there is rumour’s in the rugby fraternity that a team comprised entirely out of the Morkel family from Somerset West would travel overseas in 1914 to take on one or two of the home unions. 22 Morkels in 1913 played on a first team level with the Western Province team regularly having half of the team or more from the Morkel family. 10 of them earned Bok colours between 1903 and 1928 with Gerald Morkel captaining the Boks on a tour of Britain in 1912-1913. The Morkel family tour never materialised due to the Outbreak of the First World war.

South African Gold medallists in the 1920 Antwerp Olympic games are Bevil Rudd (400 meters), Clarence Walker (Boxing - bantamweight) and Charles Winslow (Men’s singles tennis)

1924 - Olympics South African bantam weight boxer Willie Smith picks up gold (the only medal won that year by South Africans)
1928 - Olympics women allowed to compete on athletics track for the first time ever.
1930 - Donald Bradman scores 334 against England at Leeds
1931 – The Boks win 23 0f their 26 matches while touring the British Isles; they draw twice and only lose once scoring 406 points with 124 against.
1937 – The Boks pile on 855 points against Australian and New Zealand opposition beating Australia 2 - 0 and New Zealand 2-1 in test matches.
1938 - The Boks beat the British Lions
1948 – At the first post war Olympics 2 SA boxers win gold
31st May 1950 Vic Toweel becomes the first South African boxer to win a world title when he beats bantamweight champ Manuel Ortiz in front of 30 000 partisan South African fans.
1955 Roger Bannister becomes the fisrt man to run the mile in under 4 minutes
100 000 fans cram into Ellis park to watch the final test between the Boks and the British Lions (We lost )

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