Yohan Blake blows chance to win Commonwealth Games gold in 100m as he’s beaten by Akani Simbine
Usain Bolt didn’t turn up for the 100 metres and nor did the man he tipped to end a winless run at the Commonwealth Games.
This was meant to be a formality for Yohan Blake, who is the second-fastest sprinter in history but failed even to gate-crash the top two of a weak field on the Gold Coast.
The win instead went to South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who beat his South African team-mate Henricho Bruintjies into second.
Yohan Blake is dejected after finishing in third place in the men’s 100m race
Akani Simbine (left) of South Africa won the race ahead of his compatriot Henricho Bruintjies
Blake was third and so the wait for his first individual title since 2011 continues, as does the uncertainty over whether the 28-year-old will ever be a major force again.
Perhaps it was for the best, then, that Bolt, his fellow Jamaican, didn’t make the trip, contrary to Blake’s suggestion in the build-up that he would.
The South African stormed through to win in 10.03sec ahead of Bruintjies and Blake, who took bronze in 10.19sec.
It was desperately disappointing from Blake, who has only won in relays since his world title seven years ago.
Simbine crosses the finish line to secure his gold medal, with Bruintjies trailing behind
Given the general weakness of this field, it seemed like a perfect chance to end the run, but he was beaten to the punch by Simbine, whose previous best results were a pair of fifth-placed finishes at Rio 2016 and the London world championships last year.
Those performances hinted at his potential and his win here marks a breakthrough for the 24-year-old.
Blake finished in third place, with Simbine winning the race in impressive fashion
Blake’s wait for his first individual title since 2011 continues as he did not succeed
COMMONWEALTH GAMES – MEN’S 100M
Gold – Akani Simbine – South Africa
Silver – Henricho Bruintjies – South Africa
Bronze – Yohan Blake – Jamaica
The quality of the line-up was made worse earlier in the day when Adam Gemili withdrew with an adductor tear suffered in the semi-final.
There are currently no fears that he will miss August’s European Championships, but his absence here represented a huge missed opportunity for the Englishman, who claimed silver at Glasgow 2014.
Gemili’s team-mate, Asha Philip, finished fourth in the women’s 100m final behind Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago. The 27-year-old was the quickest qualifier for the final but crossed in a disappointing 11.28sec.
Ahye won in 11.14sec from the Jamaican pair of Christania Willams and Gayon Evans.
Philip said: ‘I know I am so much better than that. It was a medal up for grabs and I’ve missed it. I’ve got so much in me, so I’m disappointed to come fourth again. I was so confident after the semis and then that happens. I’m really frustrated with myself.
‘I’m not terrified of the situation, I went in full of confidence so I can’t put it down to that. I know I’m capable of more than that.
‘I am looking forward to the relay now. We have a really good group and we know we can perform well. It will be great to run for England again.’