PARIS - Akani Simbine has been criss-crossing Europe, sprinting from meeting to meeting as he looks to have some fun this season. The South African 100m record holder has been on a mission to test as many tracks as possible before the African Athletics Championships in Nigeria in August.
“It is different, I am used to going to a race and go back to Italy, chill, train for two to three weeks and race again and do the same thing,” Simbine said. “Now every fourth day I am racing and it is interesting because I am not used to that.”
His programme reached levels of ridiculousness the last two weeks where he competed at meetings just days apart on two occasions. He raced in Montreuil in Paris before hopping to Madrid two days later to line up in a 100-metre race.
A week later he was at the Paris Diamond League posting a season’s best of 9.94 seconds finishing in fourth place. Sleep is but a luxury for the South African as he had to take a shuttle at 4am the next morning en route to Budapest.
“It is a different feel on the body and the travelling also takes its toll but I am enjoying moving around and seeing different places and just racing,” Simbine said. “I love racing, so every opportunity I get to be on the track and race is really great.”
The schedule may have taken its toll on Simbine in Budapest where he seemed to have been caught asleep in the blocks two days after competing in France. The result was his slowest time this season but he still managed a podium finish with a time of 10.21. Simbine has been taking a different approach to his season compared to the previous two where he peaked quite early in the season.
He clocked his first sub-10 second time almost two weeks ago in Madrid before following it up in Paris. “I know where I am in the season and where my goals are, I don’t want to be running so fast in the beginning and get to the Africa champs in August and I am flat,” Simbine said.
“We are literally building up and it has been showing itself I am actually building up to something very fast. Every raceI’ve been getting faster and faster. It is really great to know that I am progressing.”
With the taste of Commonwealth Games victory still fresh on the palate, Simbine is looking to add the continental behind his name. The African title also comes with a wild-card entry for next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha as an added incentive.
“My biggest goal is African Championships and the Diamond League final is a goal but it is not the priority. My goals are to go there, do my best there and win there.”
Simbine got bronze at the previous edition in South Africa 2016.
De Villiers is in Paris courtesy of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)