Athletics

Simbine sizzles, Blake stumbles

Jamaica's pre-race favourite finishes with bronze in 100m, as South Africa take gold and silver

South African sprinter Akani Simbine upset Jamaica's Yohan Blake to win the 100m gold medal at the Commonwealth Games last night.

With a packed crowd at Carrara Stadium roaring, Simbine blazed down the straight and crossed ahead of teammate Henricho Bruintjies in 10.03 seconds.

Blake struggled for balance after a messy start and finished with the bronze in 10.19, after qualifying fastest with 10.06 in the semi-finals.

"I was stumbling all the way," the 28-year-old said ruefully.

"I just didn't recover from it. It was a pretty easy race for me to win because I've been feeling good. It was just, never (going) to happen today, I don't know. I'm a bit disappointed because I've been feeling good, I've been running good."

Blake's compatriot and athletics great Usain Bolt, who had earlier joked that Blake should not go home if he does not win the gold, congratulated his former teammate and Simbine on Twitter.

"Well done @YohanBlake," he said."Keep putting in the work. You know your journey."

The path to gold was made smoother for Simbine, with England runner Adam Gemili, a 4x100m relay gold medallist at the London world championships, pulling out before the final with a thigh injury.

Michelle-Lee Ahye held off a two-pronged Jamaican challenge to claim the women's 100m gold for Trinidad and Tobago in 11.14.

Ahye edged out Christania Williams (11.21), with her Jamaican teammate Gayon Evans taking bronze.

World and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya kicked off her bid for a Commonwealth double with a comfortable win in the 1,500m heats in four minutes and 05.86 seconds.

The South Africa flag-bearer raced within herself but still qualified fastest for today's final ahead of home runner Georgia Griffith (4:06.41) and Kenya's Mary Kuria.

Kuria's compatriot and medal contender Winny Chebet crashed out, however, when she fell some 70 metres from the finish after clipping the leg of local Linden Hall.

Even with the absence of Wayde van Niekerk and reigning champion Kirani James, the men's 400m tonight boasts quality and looks to be a battle between Botswana's flamboyant Isaac Makwala and Grenada's Rio Olympic finalist Bralon Taplin.

Makwala, who was barred from competing in the world championships' 400m final in London last year over illness fears, qualified fastest for the final in 45.00 seconds.

After crossing the line, the 31-year-old did two push-ups on the track to show his fitness and grinned at the TV camera.

New Zealand's world champion Tomas Walsh threw 21.41m to take the shot put gold, going one better than his silver at Glasgow.

Stella Chesang fought off Kenya's Stacy Ndiwa to take the 10,000m gold for Uganda and win her maiden Commonwealth medal. - REUTERS

MEN'S 100M FINAL (TOP 3)

1. Akani Simbine (South Africa): 10.03secs

2. Henricho Bruintjies (S. Africa): 10.17s

3. Yohan Blake (Jamaica): 10.19s

WOMEN'S 100M FINAL (TOP 3)

1. Michelle-Lee Ahye (Trinidad and Tobago): 11.14s

2. Christania Williams (Jamaica): 11.21s

3. Gayon Evans (Jamaica): 11.22s