South African Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has congratulated Tatjana Schoenmaker for winning the country’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympic Games in the women’s 200m breaststroke in a world record on Friday.Mthethwa said South Africa was incredibly proud of Schoenmaker who has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that “South Africa is indeed a nation of winners.”
Mthethwa said: “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.
Schoenmaker, aged 24, smashed the 2:19.11 world record held by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen since 2013, clocking 2:18:95 as the first individual world record of this tournament.
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.
Schoenmaker was the top seed in the 200m breaststroke going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“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,” she said.
On Tuesday, the athlete bagged a silver medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke final.