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Sprinter Akani Simbine and middle-distance runner Tshepo Tshite delivered good performances for the SA team at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday. They progressed to the second round of their respective events on Day One.

Simbine won his 100m heat in 9.97 seconds, clocking the third-fastest time in the opening round. He booked his place in the semifinals to be held on Sunday.

“I’m really happy to get that first run out the way, and to get a win,” Simbine told Athletics SA.

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“I’m just trusting my running pattern, and how I race, and the shape that I’m in, and it’s paying off. I feel good for tomorrow, for the semifinals and the final.”

Fellow sprinters Benjamin Richardson (10.17) and Shaun Maswanganyi (10.21) both finished fourth in their 100m heats. They narrowly missed out on places in the penultimate round.

AKANI SIMBINE AND TSHEPO TSHITE SHINE AT WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Meanwhile, Tshite took second spot in his 1 500m heat in 3:47.79. He will turn out again in the semi-finals on Sunday night.

“The race went well. It was tactical but the most important thing for me was to be in the top six (in order to reach the next round) regardless of the time. So I’m really happy,” Tshite said.

Akani Simbine and Tshepo Tshite shine at the World Athletics Championships
Tshepo Tshite

His compatriot, Ryan Mphahlele, was 10th in his 1 500m heat in 3:39.16 and was eliminated ahead of the semi-finals.

In other events on the opening day of competition, Carina Viljoen ended 12th in her 1 500m heat (4:11.02). She was unable to progress beyond the first round.

Burger Lambrechts and Kyle Blignaut were knocked out in the qualifying round of the men’s shot put. Lambrechts was 24th overall with a 19.52m throw and Blignaut settled for 34th position (18.82m).

Former World Championships finalist Victor Hogan was 27th overall in the qualifying round of the men’s discus throw (61.80m) and he too missed out on the final.

Schedule of South African athletes, Day 2 Sunday, 20 August:

Morning session:

9.35am – 400m heats, women (Marli Viljoen, Miranda Coetzee, Zeney van der Walt)

10.25am – 400m heats, men (Wayde van Niekerk, Zakithi Nene, Lythe Pillay)

10.30am – discus throw qualification, women (Yolandi Stander)

1.05pm – 110m hurdles heats, men (Antonio Alkana)

Evening session:

4.35pm – 100m semifinals, men (Akani Simbine)

5.30pm – 1 500m semifinals, men (Tshepo Tshite)

6.25pm – 10 000m final, men (Adriaan Wildschutt)

7.10pm – 100m final, men (Akani Simbine)

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