Rantso Mokopane was unable to progress beyond the opening round, ending 13th in his race in 8:42.22. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

DOHA, Qatar – Despite the absence of defending champion Wayde van Niekerk as a result of a long-term knee injury, South Africa could have another representative in the men's 400m final at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar later this week.

Sprinter Thapelo Phora finished third in his one-lap heat on Tuesday, clocking 45.45 seconds and booking his place in the semifinal on Wednesday.

Derrick Mokaleng also delivered a solid performance, taking fifth position in his heat in 45.87. However, he narrowly missed out on a spot in the penultimate round by just 0.05.

Former world champion Kirani James of Grenada was the fastest athlete in round one, completing the circuit in 44.94.

Teenager Zeney van der Walt was unable to make an impact in the women's 400m hurdles, settling for sixth place in her first-round heat in 57.11.

Van der Walt, who won the world junior title last year, nevertheless gained some valuable experience after lining up against the world's best.

In the men's 3 000m steeplechase heats, Rantso Mokopane was unable to progress beyond the opening round, ending 13th in his race in 8:42.22.

South Africa goes into Day 6 on Wednesday without a single medal with five days to go.

Wednesday's Day 6 schedule of SA athletes (SA times):
5.25pm: Women's 5 000m, heats (Dominique Scott-Efurd) 
7.21pm: Men's 110m hurdles, semifinal (Antonio Alkana) 
7.35pm: Men's 400m, semifinals (Thapelo Phora) 
10pm: Men's 110m hurdles, final (Alkana) 

African News Agency (ANA)