Team SA in rush for gold

Sunday, August 21, 2011
Eric Mashaba

Mbombela- South Africa is going for gold - literally. Team South Africa flew out on Friday to compete in the five-day 2011 World Gold Panning Championships that start in Zlotoryja, Poland, on Tuesday.

"We are confident that Team South Africa will do well," said Mpumalanga culture, sport and recreation MEC Sibongile Manana, whose province will host the world championships in the historic mining town of Pilgrim's Rest next year.

Team South Africa includes two previous world gold panning champions, Surprise Thulelo and Sonja Vermaak.

Another participant to watch is Sendra Mthuke, a 47-year-old single mother of three children, who won the ladies' proficient (professional) category in the South African Open Gold Panning Championship in Pilgrim's Rest last year.

Other team members include David Kahts, Coenraad Vermaak and Mikayla Goodwin.
Gold panning is a sport in which participants receive a gold pan and a bucket full of sand in which a specific number of gold nuggets are hidden.

Participants then enter pools of water and start washing the sand in search of the nuggets.
The winner is the participant who finds the most nuggets in the shortest time. Participants are penalised for lost nuggets.

To showcase South Africa's readiness to host the 2012 World Gold Panning Championships, a South African Presentation Night will be held in Poland.

The evening will include cultural performances, cultural exchanges and a presentation on the historic importance of Pilgrim's Rest.

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