South African Athletics

Simbine blasts to SA 100m title

2017-04-21 23:00
Akani Simbine (Beeld)

Cape Town - Rio Olympics finalist Akani Simbine got the better of world 400m record-holder Wayde van Niekerk to win the South African 100m title in Potchefstroom Friday.

Simbine dipped at the line in a time of 9.95 seconds with Van Niekerk earning silver in a photo finish with a time of 10.04 and Thando Roto rounding off the podium in third place.

Dipping below 10 seconds for the fifth time this season, Simbine confirmed his class as one of the top sprinters in Africa.

"I'm pretty happy with the time. I came back here to get the title that I lost last year so it is a job done," Simbine said.

It was the first time all South Africa's sub-10 second athletes featured in one race with the championships showing off the country's sprinting depth.

"It is really competitive and this is an exciting time in South African athletics and we must nurture our athletes and take care of them," stressed Simbine.

"With what we have now we can go out and be a sprinting powerhouse. The potential is there, we just need to use it as best we can."

Van Niekerk raced to a season's best, edging closer to returning to the form that saw him conquer the world at the Rio Olympics, where he claimed the 400m title.

"The heats were a bit rusty, I was sleeping in the blocks where I got caught up a bit, then relaxed. In the semi-final I had a much better start," Van Niekerk said.

"In the final I ended off strong so I have a lot of sharpening and mixing and matching to do, but the season is still quite early."

Rio Games javelin silver medallist Sunette Viljoen produced a season's best heave of 63.49m to secure her 12th national title.

Viljoen, whose personal best is 69.35m, has set her sights on breaking Czech Barbora Spotakova's world record of 72.28m.

"It is something I know I have in my arm, my long time goal has been to break through the 70-metre mark and it is something I will always chase," she said.

Olympic women's 800m champion Caster Semenya comfortably won her 400m heat to advance to Saturday's final and also finished first in her 800m heat in 2:08.05.

Read more on:    akani simbine  |  athletics
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