Ed’s World Champs Blog: Personal Highlights – Brought to you by PUMA

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So, we’re coming up for day 7 of the World Athletics Champs in Eugene in the USA, and what a Champs it has turned out to be. I’ve seen various colleagues, friends and other fans of track and field on social media talking about goosebumps, and getting emotional, as they’ve watched the action live – even when it required staying up till the early hours of the morning to catch the action live. – BY SEAN FALCONER

There is a nine-hour time difference between SA and Eugene, Oregon, on the West Coast of the USA, so the evening sessions of the World Champs generally start around 2am our time, and continue till 5am or 6am, so I reckon there are a few rather sleep-deprived athletics fans this side of the Atlantic after a week of action.

Yes, there were a few issues with some athletes not able to get to the USA due to VISA issues, but in general, this has been a terrific meet. I’m not even going to try to list all the top performances here, as there have been so many, but I would like to mention some personal highlights that I particularly enjoyed.

  • I take my hat off to Akani Simbine for reaching yet another global 100m final. I know he will be bitterly disappointed to have finished fifth, having also narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2017 World Champs (fifth), 2016 Olympics (fifth), 2019 World Champs (fourth) and 2021 Olympics (fourth), but it shows just how much he has done to raise the bar of men’s sprinting in this country. It wasn’t so long ago that we still didn’t have any sub-10-second runners in this country, and the prospects of a South African making a World Champs or Olympic 100m final was so beyond our wildest dreams. Akani has been a genuine medal contender at every big meet since 2017, and for that alone he deserves huge praise.
  • Staying with the sprints, it has been phenomenal to see the rapid emergence of Luxolo Adams as a world class sprinter this year. He’s been bubbling just under the top level until now, but found his best form just before the World Champs, with his scintillating 19.82 in the Diamond League meet in Paris. Now he is in the men’s 200m final at the World Champs! I don’t think anybody would have predicted that if asked just a few months ago.
  • And of course, at the risk of repeating myself, hasn’t it been fantastic to see Wayde van Niekerk fit and racing again? And even better, back in a global final, where he belongs! That freak knee injury a few years back – in a charitable touch rugby game, of all places – looked like it may have wrecked his career, and many of us wondered if he would ever get back to the shape that saw him win the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World 400m titles, and set that amazing World Record of 43.03 seconds. Even if he doesn’t quite get to that same level as 2016 again – after all, he is six years older now – it remains a privilege to watch him running what is often referred to as the most brutal event on the track.

Anyhoo, enough rambling from me for one blog, let’s look ahead to see what’s coming up next.

Day 7 (21 July) – Afternoon Session

SA Time     US Time     Event                                          Round

02:05          17:05          Men’s Javelin Throw                    Qualification – Group A

02:10          17:10          Women’s 800m                            Heats

03:10          18:10          Men’s 5000m                               Heats

03:20          18:20          Men’s Triple Jump                       Qualification

03:35          18:35          Men’s Javelin Throw                    Qualification – Group B

04:00          19:00          Men’s 800m                                 Semi-Final

04:35          19:35          Women’s 200m                            Final

04:50          19:50          Men’s 200m                                 Final

 

Day 8 (22 July) – Morning Session

SA Time     US Time     Event                                          Round

15:15          06:15          Women’s 35km Race Walk           Final

 

Day 8 (22 July) – Afternoon Session

SA Time     US Time     Event                                          Round

02:05          17:05          Men’s Pole Vault                         Qualification

02:40          17:40          Women’s 4x100m Relay               Heats

03:05          18:05          Men’s 4x100m Relay                    Heats

03:20          18:20          Women’s Javelin Throw               Final

03:35          18:35          Women’s 800m                            Semi-Final

04:15          19:15          Women’s 400m                            Final

04:35          19:35          Men’s 400m                                 Final

04:50          19:50          Women’s 400m Hurdles               Final

 

SOUTH AFRICANS IN ACTION…

Watch for our local heroes in the following events:

 

Day 7 – Afternoon Session

Men’s Javelin Qualifiers

Group A – Johan Grobler

Women’s 800m Qualifiers

Heat 5 – Prudence Sekgodiso

Men’s 5000m Qualifiers

Heat 1 – Adriaan Wildschutt

Heat 2 – Precious Mashele

Men’s 200m Final

Luxolo Adams

 

Day 8 – Afternoon Session

Men’s 400m Final

Wayde van Niekerk

 

Enjoy the viewing, and chat later again.

(Image: courtesy World Athletics)

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