Race walker Wayne Snyman led South Africa’s final and sprinter Akani Simbine kept his medal hopes alive on Friday, as the SA team got their campaign underway on the opening day of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Snyman, the first South African to compete in a final, took 12th position in the men's 20km walk in 1:21:23.
Japanese athlete Toshikazu Yamanishi won the race in 1:19:07 to secure the gold medal.
In the men's 100m heats, SA record holder Simbine finished fourth in his race in 10.07 seconds, progressing to the semi-finals to be held on Day 2.
In other 100m heats, Gift Leotlela finished fifth in his race in 10.19 and Clarence Munyai was seventh in his race in 10.47, and they were both eliminated in the first round.
In other events, former World Championships medallist Ruswahl Samaai landed at 7.86m in the men's long jump qualifying round, missing out on a place in the final by just seven centimetres. Jovan van Vuuren (7.80m) was also eliminated in the qualifying round of the long jump, and Ischke Senekal (15.40m) ended 29th overall in the women's shot put qualifiers.
“It’s unfortunate that South Africa had to take the decision to withdraw the mixed 4x400m relay team from competition,” said Shireen Noble, the Vice-President of Athletics South Africa. “Some of our athletes arrived very late in Eugene because of the US visa challenges that affected traveling arrangements for other countries as well.
“With the Championships 10 days long, the team management took the decision not to risk injuries on the first day of competition caused by travel fatigue. Our focus is on the individual events, as well as the 4x400m men and women relays, and also the 4x100m men’s relay. We are looking forward to a successful competition ahead.”
Day 2 schedule of SA athletes (SA times):
8.53pm - 110m hurdles heats, men (Antonio Alkana)
9.20pm - 10 000m final, women (Dominique Scott-Efurd)
10.27pm - 400m hurdles heats, men (Sokwakhana Zazini)
2.31am - 100m heats, women (Carina Horn)
3.00am - 100m semi-finals, men (Akani Simbine)
3.30am - 1 500m heats, men (Ryan Mphahlele)
4.50am - 100m final, men