Wayde van Niekerk is back on track as Akani Simbine and Ruswahl Samaai win again
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CAPE TOWN - Despite the unfortunate ruling against Caster Semenya by the Swiss Supreme Court on Tuesday, there was at least something to cheer about for South African athletics fans.
Firstly, in Rovereto in northern Italy, sprint star Akani Simbine and long jumper Ruswahl Samaai continued their winning streak in Europe.
Simbine made his return to the track last Thursday in Marseille, France, where he ran 10.19 to clinch victory in the European Continental Tour 100m final, having posted 10.31 in a heat.
The Commonwealth Games champion was at again in Italy on Tuesday night, and duly produced the goods once more. Simbine stopped the clock at 10.17 to win comfortably ahead of Marcell Jacobs (10.21) and Eseosa Desalu (10.33).
The 26-year-old will now move on to Switzerland for an event on September 15, before concluding his currently scheduled set of races at the Rome Diamond League on September 17, where he will hope to be primed for a sub-10-second time.
Samaai made it three in a row at the same Rovereto meeting on Tuesday, taking first place with a leap of exactly eight metres. The world championship bronze medallist started out with jumps of 7.88m and 7.53m before coming up with his winning effort of 8.00m.
He was able to hold off local athlete Filippo Randazzo, who came up just short at 7.99m.
Further good news for local fans is that Wayde van Niekerk is making his way back to full fitness.
The 400m Olympic champion posted a video of himself training on a track at his European base in Gemona, Italy on his Instagram page on Tuesday.
Set to the music of J.Cole’s Lights Please, Van Niekerk captioned a photo of him standing topless on the track with ‘Back to School’.
The 28-year-old had to withdraw from a race in Trieste, Italy on August 1 after a Covid-19 positive test. He then tested negative soon afterwards, although he had since had inconsistent results, according to the Team South Africa Olympic website, apparently due to antibodies in his system.
The 400m world record-holder was asymptomatic, though, and was cleared to return to training by Italian authorities after two successive negative tests.
His agent, Peet van Zyl, told IOL Sport on Wednesday from Italy that Van Niekerk will make a decision on when his return to competitive action will be by the end of this week.