Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
29 Sep 2019
9:59 am

No luck for Team SA

Wesley Botton

South Africa's most anticipated session at the IAAF World Champs fizzles out with a litany of fourth-placed finishes.

Akani Simbine of South Africa lies flat on the track after the mens 100m final during day 2 of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Khalifa International Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

South Africa’s most anticipated session at the IAAF World Championships fizzled to a close on Saturday night, after the nation’s top medal contenders narrowly missed out on podium places in Doha.

Having rocketed over the line in 10.01 seconds to win his 100m semifinal, Akani Simbine went on to deliver a solid performance in the final.

He had to settle for fourth place, however, crossing the line in 9.93 after losing touch in the chase for the line.

The Commonwealth Games champion, who matched his season’s best, was just 0.03 shy of a place on the podium, with bronze medallist Andre de Grasse of Canada clocking a personal best of 9.90.

American athlete Chris Coleman won gold in 9.76, running the fastest time in the world this year.

Meanwhile, in the long jump pit, defending champion Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai were equally competitive, but they too were unable to find a spot on the podium.

Manyonga, who landed at 8.05m or further will all six of his attempts, finished fourth with a best leap of 8.28m.

He was six centimetres behind Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba, who grabbed the bronze medal.

Samaai was just five centimetres further back, producing a jump of 8.23m to finish fifth.

Jamaican athlete Tajay Gayle stunned the field, opening the competition with a big 8.46m leap to set the standard, and he went on to land at 8.69m in the fourth round, earning the gold medal.

In the men’s 50km walk, lone SA participant Marc Mundell finished 24th in a brutal contest in 4:41:39.

Only 28 of the 46 athletes who started the race were able to reach the finish, with four men being disqualified for technique and 14 others dropping out in the humid conditions.

Earlier, in the opening round of the men’s 800m event, Tshepo Tshite finished third in his heat in 1:46.54, progressing to the semifinals on Sunday’s third day of competition at the track and field showpiece.

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