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11 March 2016 | in Summer Universiade, Athletics

Universiade Speedster Flying High


PRETORIA - The fastest man at last year’s Summer Universiade is now even faster. South African sprinter Akani Simbine cruised to 100m gold in Gwangju 2015, setting a new Games record while equalling the South African record in the process.

And the talented speedster has now started 2016 in emphatic fashion, setting a new national record in just his first meet of the year.

Running in the colours of the University of Pretoria at the ASA Night Series Meeting at the Pilditch Stadium in South Africa’s capital Pretoria, the 22-year-old left the rest of the field in his wake as he powered his way past the finish line in a record time of 9.96 seconds.

The Information Science student says he surprised even himself, having run such a fast time so early in the year. “The time I ran does not feel real especially since it still so early in the season,” he told reporters after his race. “I got to admit that I am surprised by the shape I am in. Werner (Prinsloo), my coach, and I have not really even started to do speed work.”

Simbine forms part of only a handful of elite South African athletes to run below 10 seconds in the 100m event, and was thrilled to do so.

“It is amazing that I can be the second South African to show local fans how a sub 10 seconds race is run,” he said. “I hope it won’t be the last time before the South African Championships in Stellenbosch that I do so.”

However, the eager athlete by no means settling for his new record time and is confident he can improve even further.

“I am confident that I can run a much faster time,” he added.

Although still early in the season, Simbine can, at least for now, wear the label of the fastest man in the world so far this year, and with the Olympic Games just five months away, Akani Simbine is definitely a name worth remembering, just like South African sprinter Anaso Jobodwana who after double gold at the Kazan Universiade took bronze at the 2015 IAAF Worlds in Beijing.


Fabio De Dominicis, U-Media Reporter RSA