Wayde, Akani, Ruswahl win in Lucerne
Wayde van Niekerk produced a strong run in the second half as he returned to winning ways in the 400m in a wet Lucerne on Tuesday night.
The Olympic champion and owner of the 43.03 sec world record stormed into the lead going into the final bend and he never let up before crossing the line in 44.87.
It was slower than the 44.56 he clocked earlier this month to secure his qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. He finished second in that race, but in Switzerland he was untouchable, though there was nobody to push him hard, with Irishman Christopher O’Donnell finishing second in 45.55.
Still, he’ll need to be tested before the Tokyo Olympics.
Van Niekerk’s compatriots Zakhiti Nene and Lythe Pillay ended fifth and sixth.
Akani Simbine and Thando Dlodlo went one-two in the men’s 100m, but it wasn’t a performance that Simbine would be happy with.
Dlodlo, a member of SA’s 4x100m relay team, delivered a 10.20 sec season’s best in wet conditions to show that he is returning to form.
But Simbine struggled with his start — possibly being put off by a false start earlier — before hitting the gas late in the race to win in 10.11.
The weather wasn’t suited to fast times, but Simbine will be looking for a confidence-boosting 9.8 before heading into the Tokyo Games.
Ruswahl Samaai saved his best for last as he clinched victory in the long jump on his final sixth attempt, landing on 8.06m.
He was the only competitor to clear 8m on the night, with Emiliano Lasa of Uruguay second on 7.90m and Cuban Lester Alcides Lescay Gay third on 7.83m.