Gold panners win ... gold
26/08/2004 16:30 - (South Africa)
Nelspruit = South Africa's gold panning team has returned victorious from the world gold panning championships that were held in Slovakia.
The 26-member team returned on Tuesday with one gold medal and two bronze medals.
"The South Africans did exceptionally well and several reached the semi-finals and finals," said Cheryl van Dyk, spokesperson for the SAS Gold Panning Association in Mpumalanga.
Panners are required to search for miniscule gold nuggets in man made pools, using a pans and excellent eye-sight, in the fastest time possible.
The three South African medal winners all come from Mpumalanga.
Carmen Goodwin from Pilgrims Rest won gold in the juniors category, while Gert van Rooyen of Nelspruit won bronze in the beginners men, and Prekky Lebyane, also from Pilgrims Rest, won bronze medal in the beginners ladies category.
"Prekky Lebyane is also the first black person to ever win a medal at a world gold panning championships," added van Dyk.
The championships have been held annually since 1977.
South Africa is one of 20 member countries of the world gold panning association.
The 2005 championships will be held in Pilgrims Rest and preparations for the event are already underway.