MPHO RAMAGONA

After winning the 100m Athletics Gauteng North Championships in 9.91 seconds (in a heat) back in March, the fastest time recorded by an African athlete on African soil, Akani Simbine was forced to sit out for more than five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Simbine remains victorious as he once again claimed victory, recording 10.19 seconds in the 100m on 3 September in Marseille, France. In the first heat, Akani clocked in first at 10.31 seconds despite battling headwinds of 3.6 m/s, the highest recorded on that day providing more of a challenge for the athletes.
He then went on to finish the final in 10.19 seconds, two hundredths of a second before Arthur-Gue Cisse of the Ivory Coast (10.21 seconds) and Mickael Rodgers (10.27 seconds). “My aim is to be faster and better and more clinical in my racing. I can only focus on controlling the controllable. That is giving 100% during training and racing. The aim is to be the best I can when I race. When I can tick off all the boxes I need to, then anything is possible”, Simbine said in an interview with TuksSport – managing to claim victory after only about three months of practice despite the ten weeks of
lockdown.Simbine’s coach, Werner Prinsloo, had said in an interview that twelve weeks was not enough for Akani to be top fit after the lockdown (just a week after they went back to train), which is why it is not a surprise that Simbine did not beat his record from March.

…when I tick off all the boxes I need to, then anything is possible…

Simbine stated that Prinsloo “is a perfectionist and someone that is very analytical. He is a great thinker who is forever on a quest to find ways to how I can gain that extra hundredth of a second.” Prinsloo did not make any predictions before the race, instead stating that, “when Akani races the focus is never to run a specific time. The aim is instead for Akani to execute what we have practised to perfection. If he does so, there is always a real chance of it being a fast time.” Simbine was scheduled to compete four times this year, and with one race down, he only has to race three more times on 8 September in Italy (36 Palio Citta della Quercia meeting), 15 September in Switzerland (Gala dei Castelli meeting), and 17 September at the Rome Diamond League meeting. He might race more in the future, although Prinsloo already indicated that it is not likely as times are very uncertain right now.

Image:tokyo2020.org

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