They won’t be among the favourites, but South Africa’s sprinters believe they can challenge for places in the final and keep their medal hopes alive after all three members of the national team reached the 200m semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
Shaun Maswanganyi finished second in his first-round heat in the morning session, clocking 20.58 seconds, while Anaso Jobodwana was third in his heat in 20.78, as they both progressed to the penultimate round later in the day.
National record holder Clarence Munyai settled for fourth position in his heat in 20.49, but he was quick enough to make it through as one of the ‘fastest losers’.
They were set to return to the track at 1.50pm for the semifinals.
“I’m confident and I’m feeling pretty good going into the semifinals,” said 20-year-old Maswanganyi, who was knocked out in the semifinals of the 100m event last week.
“I’m just going to keep running my own race.”
Jobodwana, a former World Championships bronze medallist, was pleased to have progressed beyond the heats after he was eliminated in the opening round at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I think I can do better than I did in the heats, so I’m confident,” Jobodwana said.
“I’ve been putting in the work, so now it’s time to just put it together.”
Earlier in the morning session, Jo-Ane van Dyk was 24th in the women’s javelin throw qualifying round with a best heave of 57.69m, and she was eliminated ahead of the final.