World Championships London 2017 – Day 2 Report

Morning Session

 

Day 2 of the World Championships in London was another jam packed day starting with qualification rounds for the Shot Put final. The two South African Shot Put powerhouses Orazio Cremona and Jaco Engelbrecht stepped out to try book their place in the final tomorrow evening but they did not have things going their way. Cremona put together a respective series of 3 throws (19.81m, 19.61m, 19.35m) managing to finish 23rd overall. Engelbrecht (18.53m, 19.59m, 19.56m) having to settle for 27th overall both unfortunately not progressing to the final.

 

The highly anticipated 400m race is one of the events that the entire world will be watching closely because world record holder, Wayde van Niekerk always promises to run super-fast times. Van Niekerk ran a well-paced race starting slower than usual over the first 300m and gradually moving to the lead as the race came to the end. His time of 45.27 was enough for victory and he looked very comfortable not exerting too much energy with the semi-final pending on day 3. Compatriot Pieter Conradie did not have the same fortunes that Van Niekerk had as he struggled to make it through to the semi-finals. Conradie ran a time of 46.62 which was only good enough for 7th place falling short of the automatic qualifying spots and also falling short on times. Neighbouring nation Botswana has put together a strong 400m team for the World Championships with Baboloki Thebe finishing as 3rd fastest qualifier for the semi-finals with a time of 44.82 for automatic qualification. Thebe’s team mate Isaac Makwala who is one of the favourites for victory in the 400m had a dominant race in his heat clocking the fastest qualifying time to the semi-finals clocking a comfortable 44.55 to book his spot in the semi-finals.

 

In the women’s 100m heats Carina Horn faced tough competition lining up against Dutch superstar Dafné Schippers and Ivorian speedster Marie-Josée Ta Lou. Horn ran a time of 11.28 for 3rd spot which was enough to get an automatic qualifying spot behind Schippers who ran 11.08 for 2nd and Ta Lou 11.00 to win the heat. Horn will is aware of the task ahead of her if she wants to be in the final and will have to get close to or break her SA record for a chance to make the final.

 

This wrapped up the SA athletes performing in the morning session.

 

Afternoon session

Akani Simbine showed return to form in the semi-final to win his semi-final in 10.05 edging out Justin Gatlin to advance to the final later in the evening.

 

Caster Semenya stepped out in the semi-final of the 1500m and did what was necessary to make it to the 1500m final preserving her energy to finish comfortably in 3rd. Semenya finished in a time of 4:03.80, behind Laura Muir 4:03.64 2nd and Faith Kipyegon 4:03.54 who have all acquired the automatic qualifying spots for the final.

 

Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai took Gold and Bronze in the Long Jump final winning South Africa’s first two medals of the Championships!! Manyonga who has the World Leading performance of 8.65m was favourite to win Gold and he did not disappoint leaping to a distance of 8.48m for Victory. Samaai did enough to hold on for the Bronze with a leap of 8.32m.

 

On the climax of Day 2 we had the 100m final which promised fireworks and it was one of the closest 100m finals we have seen in a long time signalling the end of Usain Bolt supremacy. Justin Gatlin has been under the radar the entire season and he did not show any signs of his dominant form in 2017 but when it mattered most he stepped up to the plate for a surprise victory which left the stadium and the whole world stunned! Gatlin’s time of 9.92 was enough for victory on a cold evening in London and he was followed by compatriot and World Leader in the 100m Christian Coleman who also edged out Bolt in 9.94 to make it Gold and Silver for Team USA. Bolt was only good enough for bronze in the tight race with a below par performance time of 9.95. Regardless of the defeat Bolt remained gracious and congratulated his rival Gatlin before acknowledging the receptive crowd in a packed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium. Akani Simbine finished in the same position he did last year at the Rio Olympics in 5th place with a time of 10.01.

 

That’s how Day 2 came to an end, and Day 3 promises to be more excitement with a morning and afternoon session on the program.

 

Written by Black Legend