The national 4x100m relay quartet of Henricho Bruintjies, Emile Erasmus, Anaso Jobodwana and Akani Simbine confirmed their credentials as a relay team by taking silver at the Commonwealth Games in a new South African record on Saturday.
Running out of lane five, the changeovers were a lot better than they were in Friday’s heats, and though they still lacked the fluidity for a team of this calibre, they gave South Africa another sprint medal following Simbine and Bruintjies’ 100m gold-silver double on Monday.
Anchor Simbine had it all to do, with four teams still in the running going into the home stretch, and he crossed the line in second place, 0.11 behind England in a time of 38.24 seconds.
The foursome chopped 0.11 off the previous record set by the quartet of Simon Magakwe, Bruintjies, Simbine and Ncincilili Titi set at the 2014 Glasgow Games where they finished fourth.
Bruintjies produced a good leadoff leg, handing the baton over to Erasmus who lost some ground on the back straight.
His changeover with Jobodwana was a lot smoother than the day before, however, with the former World Championships 200m bronze medallist getting the baton to Simbine.
Simbine had some ground to make up on England and Australia as he started his chase shoulder-to-shoulder with Jamaican Yohan Blake.
He reeled in the Aussie runner and beat Blake again to add the relay silver to the 100m gold medal he won earlier in the week.
England crossed the line first in 38.13 with South Africa in second place and Jamaica rounding off the podium in third (38.35).
“All that was in my mind was ‘just get in front, get in front, just catch’,” Simbine said.
“I saw Blake coming up and I thought ‘there’s no way he’s going to get me this time’, and I moved… I’m just really happy I could push us into the medals and just get that medal for South Africa.”
Phil-Mar Janse van Rensburg, the last SA representative in track and field, finished fourth in the men’s javelin final with a best heave of 79.83m in the second round.
He was more than two metres short of a podium place, with Neeraj Chopra of India securing gold (86.47m).
“I felt great yesterday, and it’s not ideal to have the qualifying round the day before, but everything was there, the crowd was electric and the experience was awesome,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“The body just didn’t fire, and I couldn’t hold position, but I’ll build on that and learn from it.”