JOHANNESBURG – Getting to improve his best time in the 100 metres by 0.09s will be Akani Simbine’s most significant challenge next year.
If the Commonwealth champion who received the UP-Tuks Sportsman-award on Friday night is able to do so, there is a real chance that he could medal next year in September during the World Championships in Doha.
Werner Prinsloo, who coaches Simbine, is predicting that the 100 metres are going to be one of the most exciting events during the championships.
“It is going to be close. I think whoever wants to win will have to run close to 9.80s. A time of 9.85s might be good enough to win a bronze medal. This means if Akani intends to medal he will have to set a new South African record. The nice thing is that he has familiar with the conditions in Doha. Last year he won the 100 metres.
“Akani has proved that he is able to improve his times quite dramatically over a year. In 2014 his best time in the 100 metres was 10.02s. A year later it was 9.97s, and at the end of 2016 it was 9.89s which is the current South African record,” said Prinsloo.
"It shows that Simbine can set specific goals and achieve them. He had three for the season. The first was to win the gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the second to win the Africa title in Nigeria and the third was to be one of the top ten fastest sprinters in the world. His best time of 9.93s puts jointly ninth on the IAAF-rankings for the year.:
What excites Prinsloo is that as a coach he was able to get Simbine to peak at the end of July in Londen.
"That was the goal I set myself, and we got it to be spot on. Akani ran the 9.93s which was his best for the season. I know now that I can get Akani to peak when it matters. I am confident of doing so again next year and the year after.”
Asked what time Simbine might ultimately run Prinsloo said: “Akani believes that he is capable of running 9.7s times. And if he does, I also believe it is possible. I might revert to implementing some of the stuff we did in the past to increase his speed.”
According to Prinsloo this season their focus was not at all on running fast times.
“As I have explained the only goal was for Akani to medal at the major meetings. It was the year he raced the most ever. He has competed in 22 races over 100 metres. In the past, he might have competed in 12 races. His average time for 2018 is 10.04s which I think considering that our focus was not on speed is not to bad."
Tatjana Schoenmaker received the UP-Tuks Sportswomen-award while her coach, Rocco Meiring, is the top coach for individual sports.
Some of the other UP-Tuks Sports Awards recipients were Sportswoman: Tatjana Schoenmaker (swimming); Individual Coach: Rocco Meiring (swimming); Student sportsmen: Charles Brittain and Mitchell (rowing); Student sportswoman: Michaela Whitebooi (judo); Sportspersonality – Shaun Anderson (archery).
African News Agency (ANA)