Akani Simbine graduated with a Bachelor of Information Science degree at the University of Pretoria on Friday. 

Photo: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA

PRETORIA – It took Akani Simbine a long five years, but on Friday, the South African sprinter finally got his degree.

Graduating from the University of Pretoria at Rembrandt Hall, the SA 100m record-holder proudly stood on stage and received his Bachelor of Information Science degree.

An elated Simbine said his journey had been a strenuous one filled with many challenges and obstacles.

But it had been through his determination and hard work that he had managed to achieve his goal.

“It hasn’t been an easy journey at all. There were challenges, difficulties and a lot going on outside of school, which prevented me from finishing on time. I failed a couple of subjects, but I came back and did it,” he said.

The IAAF Diamond League gold medallist said his athletics career had been the reason why he had failed some subjects.

“Having to manage my time between my studies and training was difficult. I would go to bed late working on my assignments and wake up early the next day for training.

Justin Gatlin (far left) wins the world championship gold medal in London last month, with Akani Simbine ending fifth. Photo: David J. Philip/AP

“There were times when I would leave the country for months, and miss semester tests and exam seasons.”

The 23-year-old said he had sometimes submitted assignments online when he was out of the country at sports events.

But now that he has his degree, Simbine has decided to take a break from varsity. “I haven’t decided yet when exactly I’ll be going to school again, but maybe in two or three years’ time.”

Simbine thanked the university and the sport faculty for their support.

Last year, the sprinter made history when he finished fifth in 9.94 seconds in the 100m final of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Pretoria News