South Africa’s three men’s 100m runners have all advanced to the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics.
The race to determine the world’s fastest man is well and truly underway.
It must be said that the field appears to be the weakest in living memory following Usain Bolt’s retirement, the general lack of an heir to the Jamaican superstar in the Caribbean, and the absence of Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman due to the latter’s ban.
That simply opens the door for the remaining 24 athletes to break through and claim gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Akani Simbine (10.08) and Gift Leotlela (10.04) both won their heats while Shaun Maswanganyi (10.12) finished third in his heat to progress.
Gift Leotlela will run in what looks to be the toughest of the three semi-finals, alongside Canada’s Andre De Grasse, Jamaica’s Yohan Blake and American Fred Kerley.
That race is scheduled for 12:15 SA time.
Shaun Maswanganyi will take to the start in the second semi-final (12:23) along with American race favourite Trayvon Bromell.
In the third and final semi-final (12:31), Akani Simbine will come up against another American in Ronnie Baker.
Only the top two finishers as well as the next two fastest runners across all three semi-finals will qualify for the final.
The final will be held at 14:50 SA time on Sunday, 1 August.