Cape Town – Storming around the
track in record time, the South African men’s 4x200m team earned the country’s
first ever medal at the IAAF World Relays, closing out the Rainbow Nation’s
campaign in style in Yokohama, Japan on Sunday.
Consisting of Simon
Magakwe, Chederick van Wyk, teenager Sinesipho Dambile and powerhouse anchor
Akani Simbine, the SA quartet covered the two-lap final in 1:20.42, breaking
the African record which had been set by the national squad in the heats.
The United States held
off a late charge from the South Africans to win gold in 1:20.12.
Earlier, the quartet of
Jon Seeliger, Anaso Jobodwana, Dambile and Van Wyk had clocked 1:20.64 to win
their first-round heat, smashing the continental record of 1:22.06 set by SA’s Marcus
la Grange, Mathew Quinn, Josef van der Linde and Paul Gorries in Port Elizabeth
in March 2002.
In the men’s 4x400m
final, the SA team took sixth position in 3:05.32, with Gardeo Isaacs, Pieter
Conradie, Ranti Dikgale and Ashley Hlungwani doing enough to secure South
Africa a place at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar in September.
They now join the
national men’s 4x100m team at the showpiece in Doha, with Simbine having led
the short sprint squad to ninth place overall in the heats of the event on
Saturday. Competing at the World Relays for the first time, the SA team earned
10 points to finish in 14th place in the final standings.
“We have achieved the
goals we set ourselves, which was to reach the podium,” said an excited Aleck
Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
“Our silver medal will
inspire all athletes who are looking to be selected to run the 4x400m for the
World Championships in Doha, Qatar in September.
“We are quite proud of
all athletes, coaches and team management for a job well done considering we
were entering the World Relays for the first time. It is also a good story to
tell that we have two relay teams who have qualified and set the continental
record twice in one day.”