Always happy to run a clean race, says Akani Simbine after clinching SA 100m title
CAPE TOWN – It wasn’t quite the same as the wind-assisted heroics on Thursday, but Akani Simbine still showed his class to win the South African 100m title for the third time in his career at Tuks Stadium on Friday.
The 27-year-old speedster clocked 9.99 seconds to take the gold medal in Pretoria, closely followed by his Gauteng North provincial teammate Gift Leotlela, who grabbed the silver in 10.16.
Another Gauteng North athlete, Thembo Monareng, would have been happy to register a bronze medal from lane eight in 10.33.
It was a far cry from the superb 9.82 seconds that Simbine ran in the semi-finals on Thursday, although it was not a new SA record due to a strong tail-wind of +2.8 metres per second.
On Friday, the wind had died down to +0.2m/s, but with the weather being cooler at the 5pm start than the 1.50pm semi-final, Simbine was unlikely to post such a quick time again.
And to complicate matters further, there was a false start – although none of the athletes were disqualified – and it appeared to affect the field at the second time of asking.
Monareng was the fastest out of the blocks, while Simbine seemed to be caught on his heels a bit.
But that smooth running style was soon in full flow as he quickly got ahead of the field. Leotlela looked like he was fighting back in the final 30 metres, but Simbine held his shape to take the honours.
“(After the false start) You’ve just got to refocus and get ready to run again,” the Commonwealth Games champion told BackTrack Sports (facebook.com/BackTrackSA) afterwards.
“I am always happy to run a clean race, a fast race. If it comes out as a sub-10… I am just glad I came out healthy, and I am really excited about the fAlways happy to run a clean race, says Akani Simbine after clinching SA 100m titleorm I’m in right now, because I know I still have a lot of work to do.
“I was just trying to run as fast as I can and as best as I can, and just make sure we finish off healthy and get back to training on Monday.”