Luvo Manyonga wasn't able to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Luvo Manyonga wasn't able to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Team South Africa's medal hopes falter

By Ockert de Villiers Time of article published Sep 30, 2019

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South Africa’s medal hopes took a nosedive at the IAAF World Championships with the top prospects missing out on podium places in their respective finals in Doha on Saturday.

Defending world long jump champion Luvo Manyonga had to be content with a fourth-place with Ruswahl Samaai finishing behind him in fifth.

National 100 metres record holder Akani Simbine made it into his second straight final in the blue-riband event, narrowly missing out on a medal settling for fourth. Simbine finished one spot higher than two years ago clocking a season’s best 9.93 seconds. The night belonged to American flyer Christian Coleman, who claimed the coveted crown with a 9.76 winning time.

Simbine finished 0.03s behind third-place finisher Andre de Grasse of Canada with former champion American Justin Gatlin bagging the silver medal clocking 9.89. Coleman’s winning time was the second-fastest time ever at the championships behind Jamaican legend Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58 from the Berlin 2009.

Coleman recently dodged a doping ban on a technicality despite missing three drug tests in one year. One can only speculate where Simbine would have ended had Coleman been found guilty for his indiscretions.

The South African team came into the championships with the Simbine, Manyonga and Samaai providing some hope of winning medals.

The team’s medal chances suffered a severe blow with defending world champions Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk missing out on competing at the Doha showpiece.

Manyonga and Samaai, who shared the podium at the London 2017 World Championships were unable to produce the goods this time around.

The spoils belonged to surprise Jamaican winner Tajay Gayle of Jamaica leaping to a massive new personal best of 8.69m in the fourth round.

Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States bagged the silver medal with a best jump of 8.39m while Cuban favourite Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba rounding off the podium with 8.34m.

Manyonga’s best leap of 8.28m was only good enough for fourth place with Samaai’s finishing fifth with a jump of 8.23m.


The Star

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