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Akani Simbine happy with ‘fight’ for 100m silver at Commonwealth Games

From left: Cameroon's Emmanuel Eseme, South Africa's Akani Simbine and Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala in action during the Men’s 100m final at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday

From left: Cameroon's Emmanuel Eseme, South Africa's Akani Simbine and Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala in action during the Men’s 100m final at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters

Published Aug 4, 2022

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Cape Town — It was far from the “clean race” that he was hoping for, but Akani Simbine was delighted with his silver medal in the 100m final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Wednesday night.

The 28-year-old speedster was determined to produce a successful defence of his title from the 2018 Gold Coast Games, and he won his semi-final in confident style at the Alexander Stadium earlier in the evening.

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But he was up against African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala in the decider, and needed a perfect performance to hold onto his golden crown.

It was not to be, though, as a bad start and the flying Kenyan in Omanyala put paid to any chances of a victory.

But the South African, to his credit, didn’t give up and charged up the field in the closing stages, and dipped just ahead of Sri Lanka’s Yupun Abeykoon (10.14) to finish second in 10.13 seconds, behind new champion Omanyala in 10.02.

“I would’ve taken a sub-10 race, and a clean race. I just struggled … I’m struggling with my start at the moment, but I’m just happy that I came on the podium again. Third Commonwealth for me, and two podiums, so I’m happy with that. Looking forward to the rest of the season and shutting down the season,” Simbine said afterwards.

“It was just about giving it my all and trying to make sure that I get a clean race in. Didn’t get the clean race in, but I’m happy that I got up and that I could fight my way back onto the podium.”

Simbine had travelled to the UK after competing in the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon, where his last event was the 4x100m relay final on Saturday night – where South Africa finished sixth – having ended fifth in the 100m final earlier in the competition.

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He explained that he was still feeling the effects of the long flight, but was now setting his sights on Saturday’s Diamond League meeting in Silesia, Poland, as the SA relay team have withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games after Clarence Munyai and Emile Erasmus contracted Covid-19 in Birmingham.

Simbine will be up against a strong field in Poland, including American world champs medallists Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell.

“It takes a lot. I am still a bit jet-lagged, not getting much sleep in. I sleep probably three-four hours every night now, since I got back (from the worlds in Oregon), but we push. We just got back, and just mentally, you have to keep your head strong to say ‘I’m here and have to get the job done, and do the best that I can’,” the South African champion stated.

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“I am going to finish off the Diamond League season. I am going to race on Saturday in Poland, so it’s a quick turnaround. And then on Monday in Budapest, so it’s a busy schedule for me, but looking forward to it.

“I’ve been in this game for a while now … I am still young. But I’ve made my name in the sprinting world, and hopefully I can just keep in the game and keep pushing. Hopefully one day I can get that worlds medal, Olympic medal, and just do our nation proud.”

@ashfakmohamed

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Akani SimbineAthletics

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