Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Akani Simbine opens campaign in style at national champs

Tamzin Thomas was fastest in the women's 100m heats.

National record holder Akani Simbine reaffirmed his status as the favourite for the gold medal, rocketing over the line in the 100m heats on day one of the SA Athletics Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

Simbine, a five-time national champion, was far and away the quickest athlete in the opening round in the morning session.

Competing in his first 100m race of the year, he stopped the clock at 10.07 seconds, well ahead of anyone else.

Abduragmaan Karriem was next quickest, winning his heat in 10.26, and teenager Bayanda Walaza was third fastest, taking his heat in 10.36.

Women’s heats

In the women’s 100m heats, Tamzin Thomas was quickest, clocking 11.47.

Junior star Viwe Jingqi was second fastest, winning her heat in 11.60, and Kayla la Grange was third quickest in 11.63, taking the runner-up spot in her heat behind Thomas.

The women’s 100m semifinals will be held at 1.40pm on Thursday, and the men’s semifinals are scheduled for 1.50pm.

The finals of the short dash will be contested on Friday.

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Akani Simbine athletics