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Rio 2016, live blog, day 12: All the South African action from the Olympics on Wednesday

By Daily Maverick Team 17 August 2016

Another day, another quest for glory. But only two South African athletes - Caster Semenya and Elroy Gelant - managed to get within touching distance. Here's a blow-by-blow of how it all unfolded.

02:21: This is where we’ll leave our coverage for today. Not too much coming up in the way of South African action on Thursday. Sunette Viljoen will be in action in the women’s javelin final at 02:10 and Semenya in the semis. Kyle Dodd is riding a BMX. The women’s golf continues from 12:52, Bridgitte Hartley is in action in her B K1 final at 15:04 while Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman will take on the triathlon.

**

02:21: Another so-so day for South Africa at the Olympics. Although, we’re sure Caster Semenya qualifying for the semi-finals (was there ever any doubt?) more than made up for it. Here’s a quick recap of how things went:

Semenya, as we mentioned, qualified for the semi-finals of the 800m, that race is coming up today (Rio time) and tomorrow (2:31am South African time).
Elroy Gelant ran a very impressive men’s 5000m race to make it into the final on Sunday morning, at 2:30. Right after the women’s 800m final…
Rocco van Rooyen
Paula Reto finished tied for 44th and Ashleigh Simon tied for 48th in the women’s golf.
Willem Coertzen withdrew from the decathlon after three events, citing injury. He was ranked 26th in the event.
There was another 26th place, it went to Kyle Dodd in the BMXing seeding round. The real deal starts on Thursday.
Rocco van Rooyen threw a season’s best with the javelin, but failed to progress to the final.
In the women’s K1 500m, Bridgitte Hartley, who won bronze in the event in London 2012, could not progress to the final this time. She will race in the “B” final, but there’s no medal for that.

**

02:19: Rocco van Rooyen manages a season’s best of 78.48, but that’s not enough to take him through. Oh well.

**

01:55: Rocco van Rooyen has managed a second throw of 71.05, some way off the qualifying standard of 83m.

**

01:35: Rocco has had a no thrown first up…

**

01:31: We’re just about ready for Rocco van  Rooyen to throw the javelin. But meanwhile, here’s some news from AFP:

The world’s greatest ever steeplechase runner Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi was retrospectively disqualified from the Olympic Games men’s 3 000m steeplechase on Wednesday for stepping off the track. Read the full story here.

**

00:57: From the women’s golf: Paula Reto is in a tie for 44th and Ashleigh Simon in a tie for 48th.

**

00:56: Oh. I was wondering what happened to Willem Coertzen during the high jump. He withdrew from the competition, apparently he’s injured.

..

**

20:30 Dodd has finished in 26th place. And that’s how the BMXing ends for today. This seeding run will be used to determine starting spots for tomorrow’s quaterfinal. Meanwhile, in the golf, Ashleigh Simon is 48th and Paula Reto is 44th.

**

20:05: Dodd was the first man on the course earlier. We are watching it delayed now. He’s doing a lot of fancy jumping. Like that TV game we used to play back in the day with the motorbike that persistently overheated. Dodd’s time was 36.45.

**

19:46: We’re supposed to bring you updates from the BMX with Kyle Dodd from South Africa in action, but SuperSport have got volleyball and table tennis on instead. I can draw you pictures, but my art teacher once asked me why I was drawing a snowman instead of a flower in vase. So it’ll probably be the same as not seeing anything at all.

**

18:00: It’s bang on 14m for Coertzen in the shot put. Which is bang average, really. 728 points and 18th spot in the event for him. He’s 26th overall. ‘What’s next?’ we hear you cry. Well, that’ll be the high jump for these men of many talents. Much later on, though, so Coertzen has a good few hours to open a packet of the fattiest biltong Brazil can provide and possibly enjoy a light snooze in the shade.

**

17:20: Willem Coertzen’s best leap remains at 6.98m in the decathlon. He’s 11th in the long jump standings and takes a reasonable 809 points through to the shot put.

**

17:08 In the men’s 3000m steeplechase we’ve had a bit of an upset. Ezekiel Kimboi, maybe the greatest steeplechase athlete of all time, has been beaten by Conseslus Kipruto. What a name, what a race. Inredible effort. Kimboi gets bronze.

**

16:52: Semenya said it “wasn’t easy out there” which shows how much all of us know about athletics, because frankly, that looked like a steady jog. She quealifies as the sixth fastest.

**

16:35: Not sure what happened there for Hartley. Very slow start and ended out of the top three, so there won’t be a repeat of the 2012 London Bronze. She’d looked good in the heats and the the 200m…but just a bit of a bad day.

**

16:08: Meanwhile, in the decathlon, Coertzen’s first jump came in at 6.98m. Also, in the 500m canoe, Hartley finished in third spot in the heats. Her semi-final is coming up just now.

**

16:05: Semenya is in lane four. She looks pretty comfortable and comes acorss to the inside line early on. She’s in fourth as we head into the first lap. She looks quite happy jogging at the back, though. Drops to the back after the first lap. And for the last 200m, she’s off. Doesn’t look like she is troubled. She finishes with 1:59.31, much slower than her season’s best, but that hardly matters.

The semi-finals will be on Friday morning at 02:15. There’s three of them.

**

15:59: Very steady race from the women in the first of 800m. Sharp from GB has finished in first with a time of over two minutes. Serbia’s Terzic finished in second. Top two go through automatically. 

**

15:52: That men’s 5000m final will be on Sunday morning at 02:15, by the way.  We’re about to get cracking with the first of the women’s 800m heats…

**

15:44: That was really, really impressive from Gelant. He set the pace very early on, completely unfussed about running out of gas towards the end. Clever running if he didn’t feel comfortable with sprinting towards the end. He qualifies for the final. We’re onto the long jump of the men’s decathlon now. Coertzen needs to make up for his effort in the 100m. Also coming up in about 20 minutes: Semenya’s first 800m race.

**

15:43: Gelant dropped down to third with about four laps to go. There was a lot of argy bargy in that front pack and this race was being run much faster than the first 5000m qualifier. Gelant dropped back to around fifth with 700m to go. Things started getting very, very fast and Gelant dropped way back to seventh on the final place. But it’s good enough to go through.

**

15:36: Gelant is out leading the pack early on. Everyone running steadily, but Gelant is gliding.

**

15:28: South Africa’s Elory Gelant is about to set off on his 5000m run.

**

15:19: Farah ends in third, but very, very nearly fell down like he did in the 10 000m. With just 200m to go, Farah and Meade had a little clip, Farah stumbled but somehow managed to recover and go in for the final straight.

**

15:07: Mo Farah has set off in the men’s 5000m, looking as chilled as ever running a distance that most of us prefer to drive.

**

14:45: Willem Coertzen (which the commentators are pronouncing Kurt sin), finishes second last in the men’s 100m of the decathlon. Not to worry, though, there are plenty more events to come. His time was 11.12.

**

14:14: As promised, we have returned to bring you updates from the land of Olympics. We’re kicking things off with the 100m in the men’s decathlon at 14:30. 

**

06:10: Seriously, what are you doing here at this hour? We’ll be back at around 14:30.

**

06:08: The big highlight of today is the women’s 800m heats which will see South Africa’s queen of the track, Caster Semenya, in action for the first time. She runs at 16:02. The build up to this event has, of course, seen every man and his dog put forward an opinion on the “fairness” about her competing because of elevated testosterone levels. This would never have happened if she just didn’t run so damn fast. Damn it, Caster, why did you have to go and be so successful?

Those who argue against elevated t-levels like to use Semenya as the poster girl for the impact testosterone has on women’s performances. That’s naturally occurring T, mind you, not the synthetic stuff pumped illegally. Interestingly, Dutee Chand, the woman who challenged – and won – the decision by the IAAF to force women to take testosterone suppressants didn’t even make it out of her 100m heats at Rio. Hashtag just saying. That’s how the kids do it, right?

Anyway. She seems completely unfussed about all the hullaballoo and has been quite jovial on Twitter.

06:05: Hello and welcome to the Daily Maverick’s blog of Olympic action. Rio is still fast asleep and so should you be. We can’t really update you on anything until about 14:00 this afternoon, so steady and have a good day until then. DM

Photo: Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates after winning the women 800 metres race at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea athletics meeting as part of the IAAF Diamond League at the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy, 02 June 2016. EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

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