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May 8, 2017
Top of the  world

HISTORIC RUN: Akani Simbine

Simbine outsprints leading 100m aces.

Akani Simbine grabbed a confidence-boosting victory by becoming the first South African to win the 100m at a Diamond League meeting in Doha.

The South African speedster beat a quality field on Friday night which included Olympic podium finishers Justin Gatlin of the United States and Canadian Andre de Grasse despite a sluggish start.

Running into a headwind of 1.2 metres per second, Simbine dipped first, well ahead of the rest of the field in the time of 9.99 seconds for his sixth sub-10 second time of the season.

Former Jamaican world record-holder Asafa Powell followed behind the 23-year-old in a season’s best of 10.08 with Qatar’s Femi Ogunode rounding off the podium in 10.13.

The ace sprinter says: “First race of the season, and looking forward to the World Champs, I’m happy with my shape now, just to come up here and set a motivation for the rest of the season is what I was hoping for.”

Caster Semenya made a serious statement of intent on her first international outing, posting a world leading time of one minute, 56.61 seconds to beat a quality field.

In a race that included Rio Olympics bronze medalist Margaret Wambui of Kenya and Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who is the reigning 1500 metres World Champion and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist, Semenya once again was just in a class of her own.

It was an overall good night for South Africa’s four-member contingent in Qatar with national 400m hurdles record-holder LJ van Zyl finishing third in a time off 49.49secs with compatriot Cornel Frederick clocking 49.96secs for fifth place.

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