Akani Simbine of South Africa experienced a remarkable false start that resulted in his disqualification from the semifinals of the 100m World Championships held in Budapest on Sunday.
Having qualified for the semifinals as the joint third-fastest contender with a time of 9.97 seconds, Simbine made an early move with a reaction time of 0.078 seconds during his semifinal race, which was the second race out of three. This false start triggered his disqualification from the competition.
Upon realizing that the false start originated from his lane, Simbine took a moment to verify the situation on the screen, implying the possibility of lodging a protest. However, after reviewing his reaction time, he ultimately decided to step away from lane four and accept the consequences of his disqualification.
This outcome represents a significant setback for Simbine. Despite being seen as a potential medal contender for South Africa for nearly a decade, he has never managed to secure a medal at a major championship except for his victory in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he claimed a gold medal. Sadly, Simbine’s aspiration to become the first African sprinter to earn a medal of any kind at the World Championships has now been dashed.
During the semifinal race, Simbine competed alongside Christian Coleman, the 2019 world champion, and Zharnel Hughes from Great Britain. Hughes, who holds the title of the fastest individual this year with a time of 9.83 seconds, secured the first-place position with a time of 9.88 seconds, while Coleman finished second in 9.93 seconds.
Simbine’s disqualification poses a significant setback for Team South Africa’s prospects in the competition. The team’s hopes had heavily relied upon both Simbine and Wayde van Niekerk, the record holder for the 400m, to secure individual medals. Additionally, Simbine was expected to lead the 4x100m relay team, which held an outside chance of success.
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