Akani Simbine was in great form in the Shanghai Diamond League meet. Photo: Noushad Thekkayil/EPA
South African record holder Akani Simbine opened his international campaign in emphatic fashion by dipping below 10 seconds for the bronze medal in his first 100m race of the season at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting yesterday.

The African and Commonwealth recorded an impressive early season time of 9.95 seconds.

Simbine spearheaded South Africa’s charge with 200m national record holder Clarence Munyai and long jump sensation Ruswahl Samaai also finishing third in their respective events.

It was an otherwise mixed bag for the South African contingent but the night belonged to Simbine after clocking the 20th sub-10sec time of his career.

Simbine backed into the blocks next to world indoor record holder Christian Coleman of the United States and rising star Noah Lyles.

Simbine was quick out of the blocks, but it was Lyles next to him on the inside lane that walked away with the spoils.

Lyles beat Coleman in a photo finish with the two Americans crossing the line in an identical time of 9.86 seconds.

South African 200m record-holder Munyai made an equally good start to his international season, placing third in the half-lap sprint.

He finished behind the Canadian duo of Aaron Brown and Andre de Grasse who were first and second respectively, clocking 20.07 and 20.21.

Munyai bagged the bronze crossing the line in a season’s best time of 20.37.

African long-jump champion Ruswahl Samaai also stepped onto the podium in his specialist event winning bronze with a best leap of 8.14m.

Compatriot and defending world champion Luvo Manyonga, who was set to compete, reportedly pulled out due to illness.

This left Samaai and Zarck Visser to fly the flag in the sandpit with Jamaican Tajay Gayle winning the competition with a winning jump of 8.24m. Visser finished sixth with a best leap of 7.90m.

Olympic javelin throw silver medallist Sunette Viljoen continues to battle to get her season off the ground and missed out on a medal yesterday.

She again failed to land a throw further than 60 metres, finishing eighth with a best effort of 57.56m.

Chinese athlete Huihui Lyu produced the goods on the night with a winning throw of 66.89m.

South African 110m hurdles record Antonio Alkana finished eighth in his race with Jamaican Omar McLeod winning in a time of 13.12.


Sunday Independent 

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