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Akani Simbine. Picture: ROGER SEDRES
Akani Simbine. Picture: ROGER SEDRES

Akani Simbine lost his African 100m crown to Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala in Mauritius on Thursday, but organisers had to measure the gap down to three-thousandths of a second to wrest it from him. 

Omanyala had the slightest of leads over the final metre, but Simbine delivered the better dip on the line at the Cote d’Or national sports complex in Saint Pierre. 

It was impossible to determine the winner with the naked eye and the two men walked arm in arm after the race as they waited a few minutes for the result to come through. 

In the end Omanyala was measured at 9.927sec and Simbine 9.930, aided by a heavy tailwind of 4.5m per second. 

The result gave Omanyala a 3-0 lead in head-to-head contests over Simbine, but the gap was the closest yet and will surely give the South African a measure of confidence as he heads to the world championships in the US in July and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where he will try to defend that 100m title against Omanyala in early August. 

Fellow South African Henricho Bruintjies took bronze in 10.01, just two-hundredths of a second ahead of Raymond Ekevwo of Nigeria. 

In other early action from the windswept second day of the continental showpiece, where poor conditions delayed some events and hampered others, Carina Horn finished third in the women’s 100m in 11.14, behind Gina Bass of Gambia in 11.06 and Nigerian Moumouni Aminatou in 11.09. 

Tuks prospect Marioné Fourie finished third in the women’s 100m hurdles, behind Tobi Amusan of Nigeria and Liberia’s Ebony Leea Morrison. The first four runners were all inside 13sec.

Antonio Alkana, the defending men’s 110m hurdles champion, had to settle for bronze this time around. 

Caster Semenya, who has won African titles in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m over the years, ended sixth in the 5,000m, more than a minute behind winner Beatrice Chebet of Kenya. 

For gold, SA had to rely on the field events. Werner Visser and Victor Hogan took the top two places in the men’s discus, trading places on the podium from 2018. 

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