After knocking on the door throughout the 2018 season, Akani Simbine smashed through the 10-second barrier for the first time this year, and high jumper Chris Moleya produced a breakthrough performance at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Madrid, Spain on Friday night.
Simbine stormed over the line in 9.98 to win his 100m heat, slicing 0.05 off the season’s best he set to win the Commonwealth Games title in Gold Coast in April.
He went on to grab third place in the final in 10.01, with Su Bingtian charging to victory in a Chinese national record of 9.91.
Fellow speedster Henricho Bruintjies clocked 10.11 to finish third in his heat, just 0.01 outside his season’s best, and he returned to the track to take fifth position in the final in 10.13.
Closing out the SA trio in the short sprint, Thando Roto settled for sixth place behind Bruintjies in their heat in 10.40, missing out on a spot in the final.
In the men’s high jump, 21-year-old Moleya sailed over the bar at 2.26 metres, adding one centimetre to his personal best to take third place.
He climbed to a tie for fifth position in the all-time SA rankings, delivering the best clearance by a South African athlete since 2005.
While Moleya was unable to climb higher, world indoor champion Danil Lysenko of Russia (competing as an authorised neutral athlete) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brandon Starc both made it over 2.30m, with Lysenko taking the victory on count back.
National record holder Antonio Alkana also grabbed third spot, crossing the line in 13.41 in the men’s 110m hurdles race, 0.10 off the pace of Brazilian winner Gabriel Constantino.