Wayde van Niekerk will begin his double-gold bid today. Photo: EPA

Wayde van Niekerk will begin his IAAF World Championships campaign this morning!

The 400m Olympic champion will start his double-gold bid in the one-lap event at 11.45am SA time this morning in the 400m heats.

It will also be a busy night at the London Stadium for the South Africans, with Akani Simbine hoping to get through to the 100m final, and Caster Semenya going in the 1 500m semi-finals.

Long jumpers Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai’s big moment will also arrive tonight as they hope to make it a South African 1-2 in the final.

Meanwhile, there were ups and downs for the South African team on Friday.

Semenya produced a well-judged effort to finish second in her 1 500m heat in 4:02.84, just 0.17 behind Ethiopian world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, to reach Saturday’s penultimate round.

Long jumpers Samaai (8.14m) and Manyonga (8.12m) were equally impressive, progressing automatically among the podium favourites for the final on Saturday evening. 

“It took me till the third attempt, but I can tell you I needed this lesson to be ready for the final,” Samaai said. 

“I am injury-free, I feel blessed and I am ready to fly far tomorrow.” 

Compatriot Zarck Visser delivered a best jump of 7.66m, but he was unable to find a spot in the medal contest.

Sprinter Simbine took fourth position in his 100m heat in 10.15, making it safely through to the semi-finals. 

“I didn’t think the guys would go as fast as that because it was a heat, but everybody probably just wanted to make sure they made it to the next round,” Simbine said. 

“I feel good and I feel I can run really great times. And it is just a matter of getting on to the track and making sure I put everything I did during the season on to the track.” 

There was disappointment for fellow speedster Thando Roto, however, as he was disqualified for a false start and was eliminated.

Victor Hogan also missed out in the qualifying round of the discus, finishing 18th overall and failing to reach the final of his specialist event.

Distance runner Stephen Mokoka put up a lone fight, but he settled for 20th place in the 10 000m final in 28:14.67, with British star Mo Farah earning the first gold medal of the championships as he stormed to a successful title defence in 26:49.51. 

SA Athletes Today

Morning session

11am: Orazio Cremona, Jaco Engelbrecht – shot put qualifying 
11.45am: Wayde van Niekerk, Pieter Conradie – 400m heats  
12.45pm: Carina Horn – 100m heats

Afternoon session

8.05pm: Akani Simbine – 100m semi-finals 
8.35pm: Caster Semenya – 1 500m semi-finals 
9.05pm: Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai – long jump final 
10.45pm: Akani Simbine – 100m final (if he qualifies)

Staff Writer, Athletics South Africa