PRETORIA – The South African 100m champion, Akani Simbine, will not race against American Justin Gatlin at the Athletix Grand Prix Series at the Tuks Stadium on March 8.
It is rumoured that the world champion specifically requested to race over 150 metres so as not to have to face the Tuks Athlete so early in the season. At last year’s first Diamond League Meeting in Doha. Simbine out-sprinted Gatlin to win in 9.99 seconds.
Acquiring the star power of Gatlin, the 100m world champion, for a meeting in South Africa would have been seen as a massive boost for the sport. However, with Gatlin racing the unfamiliar 150m event it is an anti-climax with Simbine competing in the flagship 100m race.
Werner Prinsloo (Simbine’s coach) is not concerned about his athlete not having the chance to race Gatlin on his home track.
“We are not going to waste time thinking about what could have been,” said Prinsloo.