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LJ through, Magakwe out

South Africa’s fastest man, Simon Magakwe, bowed out of the IAAF World Championships in Berlin at the quarter-final stage on Saturday, but the country’s 400m hurdles hope LJ van Zyl qualified easily for the semi-finals.

Magakwe, who was virtually unknown a couple of months ago, was disappointing as he finished last in the second quarter-final in a rather pedestrian 10.71sec. Earlier he had finished third in heat 10 in 10.54 sec, outside of his personal best but good enough by three-hundredths of a second to go through to the next round.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson won the heat, the slowest of the day, and Magakwe’s time was the slowest of the 40 qualifiers for the quarter-finals later in the day.

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt and America’s main threat, Tyson Gay, both cruised through their opening 100m heats.┬áGay set the fastest time of first round qualifying, 10.16 seconds.

But the tempo quickened in the quarters and former world record holder Asafa Powell timed 9.95sec in winning his race, while Gay and Bolt qualified comfortably.

In the men’s 1500m, Peter van der Westhuizen finished fifth in his heat after being in front at the bell and timed 3:42.53, in progressing to the semi-finals, but Johan Cronje (3:46.45) was eliminated after coming ninth in his heat.