Though he was given a fright in a lightning fast semifinal, Akani Simbine managed to grab the last available spot in the men’s 100m medal contest at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
Turning out in the third and final semifinal, Simbine ended fourth in 9.90, with Chinese athlete Su Bingtian scorching to victory in an Asian record of 9.83.
Setting a useful time, despite his position, Simbine progressed to the final as one of two ‘fastest losers’.
He will return to the track at 2.50pm on Sunday as he targets the SA team’s fourth medal of the Tokyo Games.
While there were three South African sprinters in the 100m semifinals, the other two athletes were both eliminated.
Gift Leotlela was fourth in his semifinal in 10.03 – missing out by 0.13 – and Shaun Maswanganyi finished sixth in his race in 10.10.
Lining up against the fastest men in the world in the final, Simbine will aim to become the first South African in 113 years to win the Olympic 100m title.