Athletics

Akani Simbine's 100m sub-10 gets third spot

19 May 2019 - 00:02 By DAVID ISAACSON


Akani Simbine dipped below 10 seconds in his first 100m of the season yesterday, but had to play third fiddle to explosive US duo Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman.
The sprint star was one of three third places at the Diamond League in Shanghai from the contingent of six SA athletes.
Ruswahl Samaai was third in the long jump and Clarence Munyai third in the 200m - not an official Diamond event.
Simbine was in the hottest cauldron of all, going up against two Yanks who seem set to dominate the world for years to come.
The South African was quick away, but Coleman catapulted into an early lead. Simbine was second, but when Lyles, in the lane next to him, attacked over the second half, he couldn't respond.
Lyles took the race on the line in a 9.86 world lead that is also his personal best, edging his countryman, the silver medallist at the last world championships in 2017.
Simbine, who has focused more on endurance training until this point, was third in 9.95, the 20th sub-10 of his career. He'll be looking to go a lot faster at the world championships in Doha at the close of the season.
SA fans can take heart that, even without the country's three best athletes, there's enough talent to make podiums.
Wayde van Niekerk has yet to come back, and Caster Semenya is trying to find her way back to the track in her legal battle against the IAAF's female eligibility regulations.
World champion Luvo Manyonga was due to compete but pulled out after falling ill.
Samaai fought hard at the end, but the 8.14m he produced on his final leap was unable to improve on his third place.
Asian Games champion Jianan Wang went to the front on his opening jump with an 8.16m that kept him in the lead until Jamaican prospect Tajay Gayle flew ahead with 8.24 in the fifth round. Gayle had ended fourth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games behind both Samaai and Manyonga.
Munyai finished third in the 200m behind Canada's Olympic medallists Aaron Brown and Andre De Grasse.
Sunette Viljoen, the Olympic javelin silver medallist from Rio 2016, opened her international competition with a mediocre throw of 57.56m and went backwards from there to finish a distant eighth.
She went 56.76m on her second effort, 56.21 on her third, a no-throw on her fourth and 51.58 on her fifth before sitting out the sixth.
The 35-year-old is coaching herself these days and she'll have to find extra metres fairly soon to justify her decision to go it alone.
Antonio Alkana was second last in the 110m hurdles in 13.47, far behind Jamaica's Olympic and world champion Omar McLeod, the winner in 13.12.
isaacsond@sundaytimes.co.za

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