Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
24 Jul 2022
6:58 am

SA medal hopes fade as relay team settles for sixth place

Wesley Botton

The national squad will have to punch well above their weight on the last day of competition in order to break their medal drought.

Akani Simbine (centre) anchored the SA relay team to sixth place in the 4x100m final. Picture: Getty Images

South Africa’s campaign all but dissipated on the penultimate day of the World Athletics Championships, as the national sprint relay team missed out on the podium in the early hours of Sunday morning (SA time) in Eugene.

In the absence of regular team member Henricho Bruintjies, who had run in the heats, Emile Erasmus, Gift Leotlela, Clarence Munyai and Akani Simbine finished sixth in the 4x100m final in 38.10 seconds.

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They completed the race 0.27 outside a place on the podium, with Canada securing victory in 37.48.

Though the relay quartet had represented the SA squad’s last big hope for a medal, the national team remained in the hunt, though they would have to punch well above their weight on the 10th and last day of competition in order to break their medal drought.

Other events

Race walker Wayne Snyman was set to compete in the men’s 35km race at 3.15pm on Sunday.

After finishing 12th in the 20km race last week, however, Snyman was a dark horse.

While he was hoping to close out his top-flight career in style by stepping on the podium, Snyman was preparing to compete for only the second time in track and field’s newest event and it was unclear what to expect from him over the 35km distance.

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Marione Fourie finished third in her 100m hurdles heat in 12.94 seconds, just 0.01 shy of her personal best, and she was set to turn out again in the semifinals, scheduled for 2.18am on Monday morning.

But she was facing a real battle just to reach the final, to be held a couple of hours later.