Home athletics, track and field Akani Simbine will not allow world lead performance to get to his...

Akani Simbine will not allow world lead performance to get to his head

122

While delighted with his performance, Simbine is not getting carried away, with the Paris Olympics athletics competition only starting on August 1.

South Africa’s Akani Simbine celebrates after winning the men’s 100m during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting in Suzhou on April 27, 2024. Picture: HECTOR RETAMAL, AFP

Ashfak Mohamed

Akani Simbine says he won’t let his world-lead performance in Atlanta on Saturday “get to my head” after the South African star clocked a superb 9.90 seconds.

The 30-year-old sprinter, competing at the Atlanta City Games on a temporary short track in the open public Piedmont Park, opened up with a 10.10 time in the heat.

But, facing the likes of Kenyan powerhouse Ferdinand Omanyala and American Ronnie Baker in the final, Simbine stormed to victory with a fine display to produce his quickest time since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 – with his 9.84 SA record also coming earlier that year.

While delighted with his performance, Simbine is not getting carried away, with the Paris Olympics athletics competition only starting on August 1.

“(Saturday) was just putting a good two races together. Training has been very heavy – we haven’t worked towards racing here,” he told the media after the race in a video posted on the Citius Mag YouTube page.

“So, I’m just really happy that I could come out and race on heavy legs, and race well, and put together a good series of 10.10 in the heat and just drop it from that to 9.90. So, it shows where we are at right now, and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season.

“The track is always going to be bouncy – it’s a different surface, it’s not on the ground. It’s something that you will have to get used to, and just keep on running and expect bounce – just take it in your stride.”

Simbine knows that there are bigger fish to fry later in the season, with American world champion Noah Lyles, fellow US athlete Fred Kerley and Italian Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs among the leading contenders for the gold medal in Paris.

Lyles, incidentally, also competed in Atlanta, but won the 150m and equalled the US record in a quick 14.41. Wayde van Niekerk was due to run in the 200m in Atlanta, but while he was present at the event, he did not participate, having recently sustained a minor back problem.

Simbine will now return to South Africa to train ahead of his next event, the Diamond League meeting in Oslo at the end of May.

“I don’t think I feel like there’s a target on my back. It’s more now just going back to training, just keeping on doing what I’ve been doing,” he said.

“Putting together the wins builds up confidence, and Coach (Werner Prinsloo) always says it’s very difficult to beat a confident sprinter or athlete.

“It is about keeping the confidence high and keep going, and just keep on building in the season and not rushing it.

“Now I have to get back to South Africa, continue training and get ready for Oslo – that’s the next mission. Today is for today, and Monday, when I get home, it’s back to training and work.”

[email protected]

Previous article‘School Ties’ is an expose on the sexual abuse and grooming at some of SA’s top schools
Next articleThe intention was not to insult anyone, says Prince Kaybee after he is accused of stealing a song