A Twitter message from Daryl Impey sums it up: “This is how a Sunday should be spent. Lost for words. Days like this are rare. Soaking it all up. First stage win in @LeTour Thank you to everyone who has backed me and sent through so many amazing messages already.”
With an unexpected win by the Spar Proteas (ranked #5) over #2 ranked Jamaica in the Vitality Netball World Cup and a first Tour de France stage win by Daryl Impey, this past Sunday indeed brought good news to South African sport fans … even though half-South African Roger Federer narrowly lost to Novak Djokovic in the tie break of the longest Wimbledon final in the current format.
The 55-52 victory by the Spar Proteas over group favourites Jamaica in the Netball World Cup in Liverpool earned them the top spot in their group. While the Proteas’ victories over Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago were not unexpected, Jamaica was favoured to finish first in the group, as they had beaten South Africa in four previous encounters.
This performance should grow further interest in netball as South Africa prepares to host the next World Cup in 2023 – and will be good news for kit sponsors PUMA and official ball supplier Gilbert.
“I think we always knew that this would be an intense game that we were expecting on that court and we got exactly that,” says Proteas head coach Norma Plummer. “I am happy with a win against Jamaica, this is a great moral booster for the team as we go onto the next round.”
The Proteas today (Monday) play against Scotland in the next stage, followed by Uganda on Wednesday and England on Thursday. The top two teams in the group progress to the quarter finals.
Two-times South African national champion Impey’s first Tour de France stage win for the Australian Mitchelton-Scott GreenEDGE team was the second by a South African in the Tour de France – 12 years after Robbie Hunter became the first South African to win a stage in 2007. In 2013 Impey was the Tour leader for two days after his GreenEDGE team won a time trial victory. Earlier this year he became the first cyclist to win the Tour Down Under back to back.
The Mitchelton-Scott team is sponsored by Scott cycles and Shimano components and is riding in support of Adam Yates, who hopes to wear the Yellow Jersey at the end of this year’s Tour.