London - There was both relief and grief for South Africa's top sprinters on Wednesday night, with Wayde van Niekerk reaching the 200m men final and Akani Simbine being eliminated in the penultimate round at the IAAF World Championships in London, England.
Van Niekerk, who had already wrapped up the 400m title the previous evening, finished third in his half-lap semi-final in 20.28 seconds in cold and wet conditions, making it through to the last round after a long week of racing.
Simbine, however, ended seventh in his race in 20.62 seconds and the 100m finalist was unable to progress.
"Today's race was a bit tough, being my fifth race in five days," Van Niekerk said. "I never expected it to be easy but I'm glad and blessed to make it through. I hope for a good rest and will see when I wake how well my body recovers to race another day, but I have to run.”
After a quiet sixth day of competition for the national team, South Africa boasts four medals (two gold and two bronze).
“It’s been a difficult week for Wayde in his quest for a double and we wish him a speedy body recovery to be able to have a fair challenge of the 200m crown,” said Aleck Skhosana, president of Athletics South Africa (ASA). “We wish all athletes remaining good luck and thank all whose competition has ended for giving their best.”
SA schedule for Thursday (August 10)
Afternoon session (SA times):
20:05/21:35: Rocco van Rooyen - Javelin Throw men, qualifying
20:25: Semenya, Gena Lofstrand - 800m women, heats
22:05: Palframan - 200m women, semi-finals
22:52: Van Niekerk - 200m men, final