Simbine, Samaai and Manyonga keep medal hopes alive after promising opening day at World Champs
DOHA – It was an opening day of ups and downs for the South African team, with half the national contingent keeping their medal hopes alive at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar on Friday.
The first SA athletes to compete at the biennial showpiece, long jumpers Ruswahl Samaai and Luvo Manyonga, managed to progress unscathed.
Samaai produced the fifth-best leap of the qualifying round, landing at 8.01 metres and defending champion Manyonga was ranked 10th (7.91m), also securing his place in the final to be held on Saturday.
Cuban athlete Juan Miguel Echevarria cemented himself as the early gold medal favourite after launching a jump of 8.40m in the first round.
On the track, Akani Simbine won his 100m heat in 10.01 seconds, clocking the second-quickest time, with only American star Chris Coleman going quicker in his heat which he won in 9.98.
South African speedsters Thando Dlodlo and Simon Magakwe both finished outside the top three in their heats and they were eliminated from the competition.
Lindsay Hanekom, the last of the SA athletes in action on the opening day, settled for sixth-place in his 400m hurdles heat in 51.71 and he too, was knocked out of his specialist event.
The men's 100m semifinals and final are set for Saturday.