Akani Simbine eases into 100m semis


GOLD COAST, Australia, April 8 – South Africa’s Akani Simbine eased through the first round and into the semi-finals of the men’s 100m at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, in Australia, on Sunday.

Going off in heat three, Simbine was the only one of seven athletes to have a sub-10 season’s best, his 9.94 seconds a full 0.24 quicker than the next best in the field.

He won at a canter, clocking 10.21.

“I’m happy to just go through nice and comfortably. I just wanted to do enough and keep the body healthy and comfortable.”

Henricho Bruintjies was off in heat six and his time was just a tad slower than Simbine, as he hit the line in 10.23 to join Simbine in the next round (first two finishers in each heat qualified automatically).

“It’s great running in front of such a big crowd for afternoon heats. My aim was just to get out of the blocks quickly because quite a few of those guys have very quick starts. So I got out quick and then the last 30m or so I was cruise control.”

In the men’s 20km walk, it was an early morning start and it didn’t quite get off on the right foot as Lebogang Shange and Wayne Snyman ended ninth and 14th respectively in the race-walking along the Southport coastline.

Shange, especially, would have been quietly fancying his chances of standing on the podium but his time of 1 hour 23 minutes 27 seconds was 3:53 down on gold medal winner Dane Bird-Smith. The Aussie, who often links up with Shange for training camps, clocked 1:19:34 for a Games record. Snyman clocked 1:28:09. Shange was up in sixth position just after halfway but slipped back in the second half. He was in the early lead bunch but couldn’t move up from 14th from the halfway mark.

In the men’s hammer, Tshepang Makhethe was competing at his first Commonwealth Games and the 22-year-old missed out on the top eight, his 67.99m in front bristling Carrara stadium putting him ninth as England’s Nick Miller won in a Games record 80.26.

Makhethe had earlier opened with a 67.05m effort. “It just wasn’t my day,” he said. “I felt good in the warm-ups but I couldn’t nail the big one. I was aiming for around a 70m to make the top eight cut.

In bowls, in the Mixed M2/B3 Pairs, Section A, in Round 4 Princess Schroeder and Philippus Walker (directors: Graham Ward and Johanna van Rooyen) beat England 19-8.

In the women’s fours, semi-final South Africa (Elma Davis, Esme Kruger, Nicolene Neal, Johanna Strydom) ousted Malta, winning 14-8.

In the women’s singles, semi-final Colleen Piketh went down 21-17 to Jo Edwards of New Zealand. Piketh will now play Canada’s Kelly McKerihen in the bronze medal play-off later on Sunday.

In boxing, in the men’s 64kg, Round of 16 Sinethemba Blom defeated Guyana’s, Colin Lewis.  Fighting out of the blue corner, 25-year-old Blom won 4-1. Of the five judges, only Algeria thought that Blom hadn’t done enough for the win. He’ll now take on Ghana’s Jessie Lartey in Tuesday’s quarter-final.

In shooting, in the men’s 10m air rifle, qualification round neither of the SA team’s two shottists were able to progress to the evening’s final. Barto Pienaar was best of the two in the 18-strong field, shooting a score of 612.7 and placing 11th, just 2.4 points away from making the final which features eight shooters. Compatriot Pierre Basson was 15th with a return of 604.7.

In weightlifting, in the women’s 69kg final Mona Pretorius wasn’t able to add a second medal for this code after claiming bronze on Saturday.

Celestie Engelbrecht, though, gave a good account of herself. Engelbrecht ended seventh of 13 lifters, with a total of 193kg – 83 in the snatch and 110kg in the clean and jerk. India’s Punam Yadav dominated with a gold-medal winning total of 222kg.

– African News Agency (ANA)