Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

‘I feel good’: Akani Simbine keeps World Champs medal hopes alive

"I'm just trusting my running pattern, how I race and the shape that I'm in, and it's paying off."

Akani Simbine remained confident of his medal chances after keeping his hopes alive in the men’s 100m sprint at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Saturday night.

Simbine rocketed to victory in his heat in 9.97 seconds. He chased down former world champion Christian Coleman of the United States, catching him on the line.

The experienced South African, a three-time finalist at the World Championships, was third fastest in the opening round.

Simbine progressed automatically to the semifinals, to be held on Saturday. He was targeting a place in the final to be held later in the evening (7.10pm).

“I’m really happy to get that first run out the way, and to get a win,” Simbine said.

“I’m just trusting my running pattern, how I race and the shape that I’m in, and it’s paying off. I feel good for the semifinals and the final.”

Tshite progresses

Middle-distance runner Tshepo Tshite was the only other South African to reach the second round on the opening day of competition.

Tshite finished second in a slow, tactical men’s 1 500m heat in 3:47.79, booking his place in the semifinals on Sunday.

Meanwhile, sprinters Benjamin Richardson (10.17) and Shaun Maswanganyi (10.21) finished fourth in their respective 100m heats. They both narrowly missed out on places in the penultimate round.

ALSO READ: Sprinters lead the charge for SA team at World Athletics Champs

Ryan Mphahlele took 10th spot in a fast 1 500m heat in 3:39.16, and he too was eliminated ahead of the semifinals, as was Carina Viljoen. She was 12th in her 1 500m heat in 4:11.02.

In field events, Burger Lambrechts and Kyle Blignaut were knocked out in the qualifying round of the men’s shot put. Lambrechts was 24th overall with a 19.52m throw and Blignaut settled for 34th position (18.82m).

Former World Championships finalist Victor Hogan was 27th overall in the qualifying round of the men’s discus throw (61.80m). He also fell short of a spot in the final.

ALSO READ: World Athletics Champs: Five stars to watch in the SA team

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