The Associated Press GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — Akani Simbine led Henricho Bruintjies in a surprising South Africa 1-2 finish in the 100 meters at the Commonwealth Games that may have Yohan Blake thinking twice about going home to Jamaica.
The 2011 world champion entered Monday night’s final as the hot favorite after posting the quickest time of the season and in the first two rounds on the Gold Coast, but stumbled early and never regained his form against the two runners to his right.
Simbine, who was fifth at the 2016 Olympics and at last year’s world championships, won in 10.03 seconds, with Bruintjies second in 10.17. Blake was 0.02 further back to get bronze after a photo finish with Nigeria’s Seye Ogunlewe.
The Jamaicans had already missed out on gold in the women’s 100, which went to Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago.
So the pressure on Blake intensified. Even more so because recently retired world record-holder Usain Bolt, the only man with a faster career-best time than Blake’s 9.69, joked that his old training partner may not be welcome home if he didn’t win the title on the Gold Coast.
“Maybe I was too confident and overthought it,” said Blake, who seemed uncharacteristically quiet behind the blocks. “I’m disappointed because I’ve been feeling good. I didn’t get the start and I was all over the place — I couldn’t catch the field as I wanted to.
“I was supposed to take this very easily because I was ready and feeling good. It was just never meant to be, I guess.”
Simbine said running in the lane between Bruintjies and Blake worked perfectly for strategy, which was primarily to get in front of the Jamaican early.
“Being able to run in lanes 8-9 with Henricho, and placing first and second with him is amazing,” he said. “It’s a big thing for South African sprinting and South African sport.”