Caster cruises, Akani scrapes in

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

ALL the big names ad­vanced from the first round of the women’s 1500 me­tres last night, an event that is shap­ing up to be one of the most in­trigu­ing of the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

Ethiopia’s de­fend­ing cham­pion Gen­zebe Dibaba showed the way by win­ning the first heat in a sharp four min­utes 2.67 sec­onds but jog­ging in just be­hind her was Caster Se­menya, the South African Olympic 800m cham­pion who is at­tempt­ing the mid­dle-dis­tance dou­ble.

Si­fan Has­san of the Nether­lands, owner of the three fastest times this sea­son, won a slower sec­ond heat ahead of 2011 world cham­pion Jenny Simp­son of the United States but re­mains favourite, though Kenya’s Olympic cham­pion Faith Kipye­gon showed she will be in the mix with a strong run to take the third heat.

There was plenty for the home fans to cheer too with four Bri­tons pro­gress­ing – Jes­sica Judd, Laura Muir, Laura Weight­man and, with a per­sonal best to snatch a fastest loser slot, Sarah McDon­ald. The semi-fi­nals take place to­day with the fi­nal on Mon­day.

South Africa’s prime hope in the 100m, Akani Sim­bine, ran a dis­ap­point­ing 10.15sec in his heat, for fourth spot.

Luck­ily for him, this time was just good enough to make it into the semi-fi­nals as the fastest loser.

Thando Roto, the other South African in the short sprint, un­for­tu­nately did not even reach the fin­ish line in his heat, false-start­ing and be­ing disqualified.

Ja­maican Usain Bolt, in his fi­nal ma­jor meet­ing, over- came an iffy start in his heat, win­ning in 10.07sec, to move through to the semi-fi­nals.

There was much bet­ter news for South Africa in the qual­i­fy­ing round of the long jump for men. South Africa had three con­tenders in the event, with two of them qual­i­fy­ing com­fort­ably for the fi­nal.

Luvo Many­onga has been the premier leaper this year, and his jump of 8.12m earned him fourth place among the 12 qual­i­fiers for the fi­nal tonight.

How­ever, last night he was pipped by two cen­time­tres by coun­try­man Ruswahl Sa­maai, who ended the qual­i­fy­ing round in third spot. Zarck Visser failed to progress.

The top two qual­i­fiers were the Czech Repub­lic’s Radek Juska ( 8.24m) and Cuba’s Maykel Masso (8.15m). Olympic cham­pion Jeff Hen­der­son failed to make the fi­nal.

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