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Maswanganyi ruled out as Simbine and Co begin SA 4x100m relay medal bid at world champs

South Africa will be without the injured Shaun Maswanganyi as they begin their bid for a medal in the 4x100m relay at the world championships in the United States

FILE - South Africa will be without the injured Shaun Maswanganyi, pictured, as they begin their bid for a medal in the 4x100m relay at the world championships in the United States. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP

Published Jul 22, 2022

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Cape Town — South Africa will be without Shaun Maswanganyi as they begin their bid for a medal in the 4x100m relay at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Relays coach Paul Gorries’ team will be in action in heat two on Friday night (Saturday morning 3.14am SA time) at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

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Akani Simbine — who finished fifth in the 100m final — will spearhead the group also composed of Gift Leotlela, Clarence Munyai, Henricho Bruintjies and Emile Erasmus.

Maswanganyi — who reached the semi-finals of the 100m and 200m at last year’s Tokyo Olympics — was also selected for the 4x100m relay, but picked up a hamstring injury in his 200m heat on Monday night (Tuesday morning SA time).

The University of Houston athlete — who set his 200m personal best of 20.10 seconds at the same venue last year — slowed down in the last 30 metres after a superb start, and had to be helped off the track after finishing fourth in 20.79.

Maswanganyi had produced the joint third-fastest opening 100m split of 10.43 across the 200m heats, but was unable to keep up the pace over the closing stages.

“I pulled it around 70m in the curve. Then when I tried to run off the curve, it pulled again a couple of strides out of the curve. I was trying to run 20.2 in that race. That was one of the smoothest bends I’ve ran all season,” the 21-year-old told IOL Sport from Oregon.

“It’s pretty painful right now — I can’t sit on it. But it’s not like swollen or purple or anything. So, it could be a grade one or almost grade two. But I don’t think I will be able to run, because I definitely strained it. I’ll be okay, I’ve come back from worse.”

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On Thursday, Maswanganyi confirmed his withdrawal from the relay on Twitter: “Suffered a moderate hamstring strain during the first round of the 200m on Monday, which unfortunately forces me to sit out the rest of the meet and the rest of the season. Thank you to those who reached out and checked up on me. I’ll be back.”

So, the SA team’s strongest line-up is likely to be Simbine, Leotlela, Munyai and Bruintjies, but they will first need to get through their heat on Friday night (Saturday morning 3.14am SA time), where only the first three finishers qualify automatically for the final, as well as two ‘fastest losers’.

Jamaica, Canada, Italy, Brazil and France will be SA’s main competition in their heat, and if they make it to Saturday night’s final (Sunday morning 4.50am SA time), they will go head to head with the mighty United States, who boast two of the three 100m final medallists — Marvin Bracy (silver) and Trayvon Bromell (bronze) — as champion Fred Kerley is out with a quadriceps injury he picked up in the 200m semi-finals.

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But the host nation have a number of top-class replacements, such as Christian Coleman, 200m champion Noah Lyles and teenager Erriyon Knighton.

Apart from the SA relay team, Wayde van Niekerk will also be in action in the 400m final during the Friday evening session (Saturday morning 4.35am SA time), while youngster Prudence Sekgodiso will compete in her first 800m semi-final (Saturday morning 3.55am SA time).

@ashfakmohamed

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IOL Sport

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Athletics

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