Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


False start: Shock for Simbine after World Champs disqualification

Wayde van Niekerk kept his medal hopes alive, winning his 400m heat in 44.57.


While one of South Africa’s best sprinters crashed out in disappointing fashion, another stuck his hand up in the chase for medals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Sunday night.

Akani Simbine, targeting a place in the 100m final at a fourth successive edition of the World Championships, was disqualified after a false start in the semifinals.

In his absence, American athlete Noah Lyles went on to win gold in the final in 9.83 seconds.

“I’m disappointed. I’ve never false started on the circuit or at a championship,” Simbine said after his disqualification.

“I reacted to the gun but the official said he saw movement and I can’t argue with the officials.”

While Simbine was eliminated, however, Wayde van Niekerk kept his medal hopes alive, winning his 400m heat in 44.57.

The world record holder progressed as the second fastest qualifier for the semifinals to be held on Tuesday.

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

Zakithi Nene was fourth in his 400m heat in 44.88, also booking his place in the penultimate round, while hurdles specialist Zeney van der Walt did well to finish third in her 400m heat in 51.76, securing her place in the semifinals on Monday.

Elsewhere on the track, Adriaan Wildschutt took 14th position in the men’s 10 000m race, completing the 25 laps in 28:21.40.

Other results

Meanwhile, a host of South Africans were unable to progress beyond preliminary rounds in their events.

In the men’s 1 500m semifinals, Tshepo Tshite missed out on a place in the final by just 0.01, taking seventh place in his heat in 3:32.68.

Other athletes who missed out included Lythe Pillay, who was fourth in his 400m heat in 45.58; Miranda Coetze, who finished seventh in her 400m heat in 52.30; and Marlie Viljoen, who was eighth in her one-lap heat in 53.73.

Antonio Alkana took ninth place in his 110m hurdles heat in 14.25, and Yolandi Stander ended 34th overall in the women’s discus throw qualifying round with a best attempt of 53.39m.

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