The African challenge for the 400m begins
Botswana’s isaac makwala is determined that Africa should take control of the 400m event and topped the qualifying list after winning his first round heat in 44.55 seconds despite easing off over the last 40 metres.
Makwala is in a confident mood as he begins the challenge of doing a 400m 200m double, where he will be joined by South African Wayde van Neikerk, the world recordholder and Olympic champion.
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Makwala’s countrymanBaboloki Thebe won the third heat of the 400m in 44.82, and discusses his tactics and his prospects for the 400m. He is in no doubt that the next rounds are going to be tough and that Wayde van Neikerk, will be pushing them to fast times.
Van Neikerk, who is tipped fore the double gold, will be challenged every metre by Makwala, had an easy progression to the semi finals.
After a green carded false start, the South African got away well with a consistent run over the first 200m, then secured his position coming out of the bend. His deceleration over the final 30-40 metres saw him almost walk over the line in 45.27 seconds.
It was the slowest heat of the day, which is no bad thing given the many races to be competed over the coming week.
The world record holder seemed content, but focused as he walked silently through the media zone without any offering any interview.
‘It was an amazing experience’ said Pieter Conradie, who was disappointed by his time, but gained massively from being at the World Championships, as a stepping stone to more in the future.
His inability to explain why he ran out of energy, and the emotion of his effort in the heats is the clear indication of why it is vital for athletes to be given the experience of a major world event prior to being selected to championships or games where they are expected to perform. As Conradie explains ‘nothing could give people an understanding of what is involved until they experience it for themselves.’
The rain shower came down just prior to the women’s 100m first round
Carina horn was surprised with her third place in her first round heat which was won by Marie Josee Ta Lou in 11 second flat with Dafne Schippers running up in. 11:08 and Horn 11:28 just taking Swiss athlete in the final 10 metres
The third place gave her an automatic progression to the semi finals
Ta Lou was not happy with her start. “As you could see, I didn’t get the best start or a really really big start because this is something I am working on at the moment. Out there I was aiming to be top three, and I hope I can produce something better tomorrow in the semi-final.”
“On the blocks, my heel was not comfortable and I was scared to false start, that is why I was slow out,” continued Ta Lou
The powerful Schippers had a controlled trip to the semi-final: “It’s the first round, so you just want to get it done. I’ve been working on my starts and that one was okay today. It was easy going through to the finish.
My body is feeling good at the moment and I am not tired. I am excited for the semi-finals tomorrow. It’s a good start for now,” said the Netherlands star.
Orazio Cremona and Jaco Engelbrecht both failed to break the 20.75 metres requirement in the qualification for the Shot Putt at the start of the morning session.
cremona’s best came with his first trail of 19.81, while Engelbrecht hit 19.35 with his second trial. The top twelve were all over 20.55m with Thomas Welsh launching a seasons best of 22.14 to top the rankings.
Tonight’s south african interest begins with Akani Simbine, who will be wanting to be the first (legally) out the blocks at 19:05 (RSA time)
After a disappointing first round where he qualified as the fastest of the losers, he will want to show more of the sub 10 form that he has displayed so many times this season
He shares the first of the semis with Justin Gatlin and Jamaican Julian Forte who won Simbine’s first round heat
If simbine can bounce back to form, which seems likely, then the late night will be both a reward and the penalty as the final is 21:45.
(With interviews sure to be at least an hour and a half later with Mr legend Bolt unquestionably and correctly dominating proceedings)
However sandwiched between the 100 semi and final it is hoped that South Africa can secure two medals in the long jump.
The talented duo of Ruswahl Samaai and Luvo Manyonga, who have virtually made the event their own this season, looked on form to produce something special, BUT this is a championship and anything can happen so this is worth watching closely from the 21:05 starting time
Caster Semenya will provide another ‘not to be missed’ event when running the first of the two 1500m semi finals.
Although her best for the metric mile is 4;01.99 and 14 of the 24 semi finalists have faster times it is extremely doubtful that we have seen anything like the full throttle speed of coach Jean Verster’s charge.
On paper her 400m time suggests she can go substantially under 4 minutes and the probability of a tactical semi plays directly into the powerhouse’s strength.
The real interest in this will probably be her finish time rather than making the relatively meek requirement of a top 5 or be in the two fastest losers, from 24 athletes.
The locals maybe calling it ‘Super Saturday’ but right now I am hoping fatigue levels will be tested, with a Super Long (medal laden) Saturday 😁😁