Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
6 Aug 2017
10:00 pm

Wayde van Niekerk saves South Africa’s blushes

Wesley Botton

The 400m world champion cruises into 2017's final but that's where the good news ended as the rest struggled.

Wayde van Niekerk didn't deliver his most fluent performance but still comfortably reached the final of the 400m. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP.

After a cracking session the previous evening, the national athletics team struggled to make an impact on Sunday, with Wayde van Niekerk saving face for the SA squad on day three of the IAAF World Championships in London.

Here are the key moments as they played out.

Men’s marathon

South Africa’s best medal hope, Lusapho April, did not make it to the start due to visa issues.

In his absence, with both the men’s and women’s races held on the same day, former national champion Desmond Mokgobu delivers the best performance of the SA squad, though he settles for 21st position in 2:16:14.

Women’s 100m 

Joint national record holder Carina Horn finished sixth in her semifinal in 11.26.

It wasn’t the best run from her, and she admitted afterwards she is disappointed.

She wanted a place in the final, but next year’s Commonwealth Games may be a better hunting ground.

Men’s 400m  

Defending champion Wayde van Niekerk trailed Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe off the top bend, but he pulled him back and cruised to victory in his semifinal in 44.22.

Van Niekerk will turn out in the 200m heats on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s 400m final.

Men’s 110m hurdles

Antonio Alkana, drawn in an outside lane, again struggled to clear the barriers in his semifinal.

He settled for fourth position in 13.59 and missed out on a spot in the medal contest.

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