South Africa won five of its six golds at the Naplees 2019 Summer Universiade in the pool, and two of those golds came from Tatjana Schoenmaker ©FISU

African nations earned a record total of 26 medals at the Naples 2019 Summer Universiade that finished on Sunday (July 14).

That exceeded the continent's best previous performance at the International University Sports Federation's flagship event, when 22 medals were won in Belgrade in 2009.

Leading the way was the biggest African delegation from South Africa.

They surpassed their initial eight-medal target handsomely as they ended with 18, beating their previous best tally of 14 won at the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade.

Of South Africa's 18 medals, six were gold, with five of those earned in the swimming pool. 

Flagbearer Tatjana Schoenmaker touched the wall first in the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke, Tayla Lovemore topped the podium in both the 50m and 100m butterfly and Zane Waddell claimed gold in the 50m backstroke.

South Africa won two medals in the Naples 2019 Summer Universaide men's 10,000m ©FISU
South Africa won two medals in the Naples 2019 Summer Universaide men's 10,000m ©FISU

The nation's last gold medal came on the track as Milton Kekana won the men's 10,000m final.

South Africa also featured twice on the podium in the men's 3,000m steeplechase as Rantso Mokopane claimed silver in a sprint finish from Ashley Smith.

After finishing 44th in the overall medal table in Taipei two years ago, South Africa finished tenth in Naples – their second top-ten placing in their 13 Universiade appearances since 1995 and bettered only by their eighth place finish in Kazan.

Morocco contributed the next highest total of the African nations with Mounaime Sassioui winning gold in the men's 3,000m steeplechase.

Moad Zahafi added silver in the men's 800m and Soufiane Elasbi bronze in the men's 74 kilograms taekwondo to help Morocco finish 32nd overall.

Algeria were the third-best African performers with Mohamed Belbachir's gold in the men's 800m helping his nation finish 40th overall – seven places higher than in 2017.

Egypt failed to bring home a medal two years ago but this year left with two silvers in the taekwondo competition as they finished 45th out of the 127 countries participating.

Taipei 2017's best-performing African country, Uganda, who last time finished 35th with three medals in total, came 49th in Italy after earning silver and bronze on the track.

Burkina Faso celebrated Marthe Koala's silver in the women's heptathlon, their solitary medal.

The seventh and last African country to win a medal was Ethiopia, as Meswat Dagnaw claimed bronze in the women's 3,000m steeplechase to ensure her country did not leave empty-handed as they did two years ago.

Three more African countries earned medals this year than in Taipei, and 12 more medals were earned in total.