Independent Online

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

No expectations for Akani Simbine’s coach in Rome Diamond League meet

FILE - South Africa's Akani Simbine in action on his way to winning the Men's 4x400 Metres Relay final. Photo: Aleksandra Szmigiel/AFP

FILE - South Africa's Akani Simbine in action on his way to winning the Men's 4x400 Metres Relay final. Photo: Aleksandra Szmigiel/AFP

Published Jun 10, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Akani Simbine may not be the fastest South African over 100m in 2021 at the moment, but that doesn't mean that he will be chasing a quick time at the Rome Diamond League meeting tonight.

The South African champion and record holder produced a 9.99 seconds at the SA championships in Pretoria in April, which was his best legal time for the year so far.

Story continues below Advertisement

ALSO READ: Solid night for Kyle Blignaut in Prague as Thando Dlodlo misses out on 100m Olympic time

Of course, he also ran a blistering 9.82 in the semi-finals of the national champs, but that time wasn't recognised because of an illegal wind speed.

That means the 2016 Rio Olympic finalist is trailing his good mate Gift Leotlela, also a Tuks athlete, at the moment, as the latter clocked 9.94 to win the SA universities title in Johannesburg a few weeks ago. Simbine's SA record is 9.89, which he set in 2016.

The 27-year-old has been hard at work in training in Gemona, Italy, over the last couple of weeks, and is building up slowly in order to peak at the Tokyo Olympics.

ALSO READ: Explosive Gift Leotlela 'just wants to race again’ ahead of Tokyo Olympics

“We are excited to race again in Europe. It just gives the feeling of the real prep has now began. Training has been good,” Simbine's coach, Werner Prinsloo, told Independent Media from Rome yesterday.

Story continues below Advertisement

“He hasn't raced in over six weeks since SA's (national championships) in April, so we don't have expectations of times. Just to get on track and put a good race together (is the goal in Rome).”

ALSO READ: ’Great achievement’ for Shaun Maswanganyi, but door wide open for SA Sprint team, says coach

Simbine has good memories of the Rome Olympic Stadium, having triumphed last year in a quick time of 9.96 seconds.

Story continues below Advertisement

But he will face serious competition tonight, with American star Mike Rodgers – who has the fastest personal best in the field of 9.85 – Ivorian Arthur Cissé, Liberian Emmanuel Matadi and Chijindu Ujah of Great Britain part of a strong line-up.

There are two other South Africans also participating in Rome: 400m national champion Zakithi Nene, and women's 400m hurdler Wenda Nel.

Nene will feel confident going into his race, as he has the second-quickest 2021 time in the field, 45.03 seconds, but he will be pushed all the way by Colombia's Anthony José Zambrano (44.57) and Machel Cedenio (45.37) of Trinidad and Tobago.

Story continues below Advertisement


IOL Sport

Related Topics: