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19 March 2020 | in Summer World University Games

Universiade gold medalist Simbine clocks world-leading 100m as preparations start for Olympics

commonwealth simbine Andrew Cornaga BackpagePix CreditUniversiade 100m record holder and Gwanju 2015 gold medalist Akani Simbine celebrates with Henricho Bruintjes after his win at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Image courtesy of Andrew Cornaga/BackpagePix.

Former Universiade 100m gold medalist turned Olympic hopeful Akani Simbine opened his season with a world-leading 9.91 seconds in the event at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria, South Africa on Saturday.

 

Simbine dominated the 100m sprint and got the explosive start he had planned as he turns his eyes to the Olympics later this year. The 2018 Commonwealth Games champion dipped just 0.02 seconds short of his national record of 9.89 from Hungary (2016). The 26-year-old intends to compete both in the 100m and 200m at Tokyo 2020.

Simbine SU2015 2Akani Simbine en route to his Universiade Record-breaking 100m run (9.97) at the Gwangju 2015 Summer Universiade

The African champion is hoping to pick up where he signed off last year stating that, “Preparations are going well. Sessions have been tough and grueling but I have to push my body, mind, and heart through them so I can achieve what I want to this year.”

 

simbine SU2015 3Having dipped his toes in Olympic waters previously at Rio 2016 where the South African finished fifth, Simbine hopes to better his position by taking pointers from the lessons he came away with while competing: “Keeping my cool during the whole race and to not tense up in the last few meters. I have to make sure all my phases from 0-100 are perfect!”

 

It’s been a long journey in Simbine’s career so far, from kicking off his professional career at the 2015 Universiade in Gwangju to holding South African records and now preparing for his second Olympic Games. Simbine says, “I have many moments on the track that stand out, I can’t single out one moment as being on the track and racing is always special. Standing on the line, running fast and chasing the perfect race is by far the most thrilling. Knowing you have less than 10 seconds to get over the line is crazy.”

 

Having had a consistent last season winning the Diamond League at the London Anniversary Games and making the final at the Worlds, Simbine constantly faces tough competition. “I race against really talented guys but they are not my focus. I’m focused on myself, and getting better and faster. The rest will fit into that puzzle. It’s all about making sure I can tick off all the boxes I can,” said the seasoned professional.

 

Simbine continues to test his limits and is trying to go faster than ever, the sprinter is dreaming of an Olympic medal and holds the hopes of a nation in his hands. “Getting an Olympic medal would mean the world to me,” Simbine said. “I am working hard and putting myself in the best possible place to make my dreams come true. I just hope my career as a whole will help the younger athletes to believe that they can achieve their dreams.”

Simbine SU2015 4Simbine celebrating his 100m victory at the Gwangju 2015 Summer Universiade. The athletics standout also added Universiade bronze with his South African teammates in the 4x100m relay.