South Africa’ fastest man, Akani Simbine, was disqualified in the semi-finals of the 100m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday afternoon after he false-started.
The 29-year-old had been in the top five of the world since 2016.
He was also in top form this year and was one of South Africa’s medal hopefuls.
The result means that Simbine’s dream of being the first African sprinter to win a 100m medal of any colour at the World Championships has been extinguished.
His disqualification is a massive blow to Team South Africa’s chances as their hopes had centred strongly on him and 400m world record holder, Wayde van Niekerk, for individual medals, with the 4x100m relay team which he will lead an outside chance.
Akani reacts to his red card in the 100m semifinals.
“Im disappointed… I’ve never falsely-started in a championship.”
— Tromps Mothowagae دانيال (@DanieMothowagae) August 20, 2023
Simbine had been in the same semi-final as 2019 world champion, Christian Coleman, and Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, the world’s fastest man this year with a time of 9.83 sec, who went on to finish first and second in 9.88 sec and 9.93 sec.
The 29-year-old has been a medal hope for the African continent for a good decade, but never actually got on to the podium at a major championships except for the 2018 Commonwealth Games where he won gold.
He wasn’t the only major casualty, with defending champion Fred Kerley of the USA and Italy’s Olympic champion Lamont Jacobs also failing to advance to the final later on Sunday evening.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari