Highs and lows for Team SA at IAAF World Champs

Akani Simbine (Beeld)
Akani Simbine (Beeld)

Cape Town - There were ups and downs for the South African team on Friday night, as the country's elite stars opened their campaign at the IAAF World Championships in London, England.

Caster Semenya produced a well-judged effort to finish second in her 1 500m heat in 4:02.84, just 0.17 behind Ethiopian world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, to reach Saturday's penultimate round.

Long jumpers Ruswahl Samaai (8.14m) and Luvo Manyonga (8.12m) were equally impressive, progressing automatically among the podium favourites for the final on Saturday evening. 

"It took me till the third attempt, but I can tell you I needed this lesson to be ready for the final," Samaai said. 

"I am injury free, I feel blessed and I am ready to fly far tomorrow." 

Compatriot Zarck Visser delivered a best jump of 7.66m, but he was unable to find a spot in the medal contest. 

Sprinter Akani Simbine took fourth position in his 100m heat in 10.15, making it safely through to the semifinals. 

"I didn't think the guys would go as fast as that because it was a heat, but everybody probably just wanted to make sure they made it to the next round," Simbine said. 

"I feel good and I feel I can run really great times. And it is just a matter of getting onto the track and making sure I put everything I did during the season onto the track." 

There was disappointment for fellow speedster Thando Roto, however, as he was disqualified for a false start and was eliminated. 

Victor Hogan also missed out in the qualifying round of the Men's Discus Throw, finishing 18th overall and failing to reach the final of his specialist event. 

Distance runner Stephen Mokoka put up a lone fight but he settled for 20th place in the Men's 10 000m final in 28:14.67, with British star Mo Farah earning the first gold medal of the championships as he stormed to a successful title defence in 26:49.51. 

Saturday, 5 Aug 

Morning session

11am: Orazio Cremona, Jaco Engelbrecht - Shot Put Men, qualifying 
11.45am: Wayde van Niekerk, Pieter Conradie - 400m Men, heats  
12.45pm: Carina Horn - 100m Women, heats 
Afternoon session

8.05pm: Simbine, Roto - 100m Men, semifinals 
8.26pm: Hogan - Discus Throw Men, final 
8.35pm: Caster Semenya - 1 500m Women, semifinals 
9.05pm: Manyonga, Samaai, Visser - Long Jump, final 
10.45pm: Simbine, Roto - 100m Men, final 

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