All eyes were on the South African 100m sprinter, Akani Simbine who competed in the men’s final race earlier today, August 1. For the first time in years, I sat with my heart in my throat before the race started, writes Cape Town Etc’s Robyn Simpson. Without Usain Bolt amongst the mix, the gold medal was anyone’s game – especially after the spicy qualifying runs.
Chinese athlete, Su Bingtian was one to watch after storming out of the blocks in the semi-finals, raking in a personal best of 9.83 seconds, breaking the Asian record, and finishing first. Fred Kerley (USA) and Andre De Grasse (Canada) were two athletes ranked as favourites to win gold.
Simbine held his own in the qualifying runs, keeping up to pace with all Olympic favourites (who all ran within split seconds of each other). While my heart was with the South African all the way, I had an inkling that Lamont Jacobs of Italy might pull a surprise attack.
It was a good day to ‘go with your gut’. Jacobs took the gold medal with a new personal best time of 9.80. In fact, all three podium-placers ran personal bests.
Simbine ran a solid race, finishing fourth with a time of 9.93. This placed the South African 0.04 seconds away from a bronze medal, which went to Canadian Andre De Grasse.