South African athlete, Wayde van Niekerk’s reign as Olympic 400m champion came to a disappointing end today after the world record holder was eliminated in the semi-finals at the Tokyo games.
He finished 5th in the third of three semi-finals in a time of 45.14 seconds.
Only the top two from each semi-final qualify automatically for the final, and van Niekerk’s time was also not fast enough to secure one of the other two slots.
While van Niekerk’s pedigree has never been in doubt, a place in the final was not always guaranteed in the build-up to Tokyo given his ongoing struggles with injury.
Meanwhile, Jessie Fleming scored a second-half penalty as Canada upset four-time Olympic champions, the United States 1-0 to reach the women’s final for the first time.
Having been favourites to win the tournament, the United States will compete for bronze against Australia on Thursday, while the Matildas will play in an Olympic women’s football medal match for the first time.
Canada will face Sweden in Friday’s gold-medal match who progressed to final after Fridolina Rolfo scored the only goal as Sweden beat Australia to reach their second successive Olympic final.