LONDON - A gutted Akani Simbine tried to hide his disappointment after finishing fifth in a drama-filled 100m final which included Jamaican legend Usain Bolt’s first defeat at the World Championships.
For a moment the world forgot about the impending doom over the retirement of athletics’ greatest hero but instead of comfort it ended in agony as former doping offender Justin Gatlin spoiled the party.
In a repeat result of his Rio Olympic Games final, Simbine had to be content with the fifth place as he crossed the line in a time of 10.01 seconds.
Slow out of the blocks, Bolt had to work hard to make his way up the field dipping at the line in a time of 9.95 with Gatlin and his American compatriot Christian Coleman crossing ahead of him in 9.92 and 9.94 respectively.
Simbine took heaps of confidence from his semi-final where he burst out of the blocks leaving former world champion Gatlin and the rest of the field in his wake to book his place in one of the most anticipated 100m finals of all time.
The day before Simbine had a disastrous heat where scraped through to the semi-final as a fastest loser.
Simbine revealed he had battled with a hip impingement ahead of his first race of the championships.
“It was a good race, I am happy with it, I am happy that I actually made the final, Saturday wasn’t such as good day for me,” Simbine said.
“I had a little bit of muscle issues that I had to deal with but I am happy that I made it to the final and I actually ran in the final and placed well.”
The South African could have another bite at the cherry in the 200m but Simbine did not look confident about lining up in the half-lap sprint.
“We’ll see (if the injury would impact on the 200m) because I have to go and deal with it,” Simbine said.
Meanwhile, Olympic women’s 800m champion Caster Semenya kept her hopes of claiming the 800-1 500m double alive qualifying into Monday's 1 500m final.
Semenya finished her semi-final in third place in a time of 4:03.08 with Olympic 1 500m champion Faith Kipyegon and British runner Laura Muir finishing ahead of her.
Semenya believed she could break Zola Budd’s 31-year-old record of 4:01.81 she set in Port Elizabeth in 1986 if it was a fast race.
“That (the record) will come in the final, I can see what they are trying to do, they are trying to stretch it out with two laps to go and all I need to do is to play around with it,” Semenya said.
“The race was great, it is all about getting into the final and just being safe. We are happy with the outcome, now it is just about just going to get rest for the final.”
In Sunday's marathon, Desmond Mokgobu was the only finisher among the South African men finishing 21st in a time of 2:16.14.
Mapaseka Makhanya was the top female finisher clocking 2:40.15 with Jenna Challenor crossed in 59th place in 2:47.22 in the women's event.