All three Team SA’s men’s 200m sprinters qualified for the semi-finals of the glamour event by coming through their Tuesday morning heats at the Tokyo Stadium.
Racing in three different heats, Clarence Munyai posted the fastest time of the trio in finishing fourth behind American Noah Lyles. Munyai clocked a season’s best 20.49sec. Shaun Maswanganyi (20.58) and Anaso Jobodwana (20.78) also ensured they’d be in action later.
First up was the 29-year-old Jobodwana, in his third Olympics, having competed at London 2012 – where he reached the final – and at Rio 2016. The 29-year-old came to Tokyo 2020 with a CV rich in achievements, with his bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships in a national record 19.87 being his biggest achievement.
Here he shot out the blocks in lane four and no one had reacted quicker to the starter’s gun than him. With the first three finishers in each heat going through to the semi-final, Jobodwana was always comfortable and crossed the line third in 20.78, behind Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer and Nigerian Divine Oduduru.
Maswanganyi had got a feel of the Tokyo Stadium track in the 100m where he had reached the semi-finals. With the 20-year-old admitting to understandably feeling nervous for his first race, he had acquitted himself admirably and was now looking forward to the 200m, which suited him better.
The youngster created a strong impression in his heat, making a fast start and leading for much of the way before crossing the line second behind with Jereem Richards, in 20.58.
Munyai was the third of the South African trio of sprinters in morning action and he competed from lane three in the seventh and final heat. The holder of the national record (19.69 set in 2018), he has a future full of promise and was looking to show the world what he is made off at Tokyo 2020.
He didn’t disappoint. Although he finished fourth behind Lyle, he had daylight to spare over the athlete behind him and his time of 20.49 was comfortably enough within the three fastest non-automatic qualifiers to progress to the semis.
In the women’s javelin, Jo-Ane van Dyk needed to finish in the top 12 overall in qualifying, or throw 63.00m to reach the final. Competing in Group B, her first two efforts of 55.31m and 55.43m were followed by a throw of 57.69m, which left her 13th in Group B and 24th overall.
OTHER EVENING RESULTS
Men’s 110m hurdles, heats: Antonio Alkana finished sixth running lane four in 13.55sec, and narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals. He had come into the event with a season’s best of 13.69 and although he carved 0.14 off that time, it was another 0.07 from fifth place in his heat and a place in the semi-finals.
Men’s 5000m, heats: Lesiba Mashela took to the 12-and-a-half lapper in the heats. He came into the race with a qualifying time of 13min 11.65sec, which is also a personal best. After leading for nearly three laps, he slipped back through the field to finish 15th in 13:48.25 and missed out on a place in the final.
Men’s shot put, qualifying – Men’s shotput, qualifying: Kyle Blignaut, with a distance of 20.97m, qualified for the 12-man final in 8th place but Jason van Rooyen (20.29m) misses out in 19th place
Technical Routine: Clarissa Johnston and Laura Strugnell took to the pool having scored 72.1667 points in their free routine preliminary on Monday, which placed them 22nd in the prelims. On Tuesday night they amassed 143.0766 points to place 21st
The sport is making its Olympic debut and Christopher Cosser created history by becoming Team SA’s first participant, in the speed- qualifying section. Cosser finished with 16.00 points in the Boulder Qualification, to add to his 9.00pts from the Speed Qualification. That left him in 15th position overall with the Lead Qualification to come at Aomi Urban Sports Park. In the Lead Qualification he placed 10th.
Photo: Anton Geyser