Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
1 Oct 2019
7:55 am

Alkana saves Team SA blushes

Wesley Botton

Various other athletes reach notable personal milestones, but it's not good enough on the world stage.

Antonio Alkana of South Africa breaks the final hurdle during the first round of the mens 110m hurdles during day 4 of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Khalifa International Stadium on September 30, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

Hurdles specialist Antonio Alkana was the only South African to progress beyond a preliminary round on Monday night, with the remaining members of the national team who turned out on day four struggling to put up a fight at the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

At the back end of a long season, in which Alkana had produced consistent performances but no lightning fast times, the national record holder delivered a solid effort in the opening round of the men’s 110m hurdles event.

He took third place in his heat in 13.41 seconds, cementing his place in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Though he finished fifth in his heat, fellow South African Ruan de Vries was well off the pace, with the result of his race ultimately skewed by two disqualifications and a non-starter.

De Vries crossed the line in 14.07, missing out on a spot in the next round by 0.31.

In the field, Sunette Viljoen was unable to progress beyond the qualifying round of the women’s javelin throw.

Closing out a season which she would perhaps rather put behind her, the two-time World Championships medallist settled for 17th position.

Her first attempt of 60.10 metres was her best throw in six months, but it was not enough to keep her campaign afloat, and she fell 80 centimetres short of a spot in the final.

Another former World Championships medallist, Anaso Jobodwana, was also knocking on the door in the men’s 200m semifinals, but he too was unable to secure a ticket for the final.

Jobodwana was fifth in his race, and though he clocked a season’s best of 20.34, he missed out on the final by 0.10.

National record holder Clarence Munyai finished sixth in his half-lap semifinal in 20.55, and he was also eliminated in the penultimate round.

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