Akani Simbine produced South Africa’s best result at the World Championships when he crossed the line in fourth place. Photo: Hannah Mckay/Reuters
Akani Simbine produced South Africa’s best result at the World Championships when he crossed the line in fourth place. Photo: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Simbine to add 200m to his races at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

By Ockert de Villiers Time of article published Oct 24, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – Another year, another 100m world championship final for Akani Simbine without the silverware to show for his efforts.

Simbine produced South Africa’s best result in the blue riband event when he crossed the line in fourth place at the biennial showpiece in Doha, Qatar earlier this month.

The sprinting sensation’s coach Werner Prinsloo said his charge ran close to the perfect race but was beaten to the line by three faster men on the day.

Simbine missed out on the bronze medal by 0.03s, posting a season’s best 9.93 seconds.

American sprinter Christian Coleman won the title in a time of 9.76 which is the second-fastest time ever at the global championships, behind Jamaican legend Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58 from the Berlin 2009 event.

Defending world champion Justin Gatlin bagged the silver medal in a time of 9.89 with Andre de Grasse of Canada bagging bronze in 9.90.

Prinsloo said they would go back to the drawing board as they look to find a way to dip below 9.90 consistently.

Simbine has posted a sub-9.90 second time only once in his career when he set the South African record of 9.89 just weeks before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“We’ve said it from the start that he would have to run a time in the 9.8s if he wants to win a medal at the world championships,” Prinsloo said. “And that is how things panned out. If he just made it into the 9.8s, he would have won a medal.”

Prinsloo said they hoped Simbine would run a time like that earlier in the season to give him a confidence boost going into the world championships.

The Tuks-based sprinter was among the top sprinters this season, posting four sub-10 second times while also winning the London Diamond League race.

“It is a frustration because you know you are so close and although we aren’t running for times but places we still need to break that barrier,” Prinsloo said. “If you look at 2017, 2018 and 2019 the times have flatlined, which is personally a frustration. We need to break through.”

While Simbine is taking a well deserved break, Prinsloo is already plotting the way forward to find those fractions that will push him from the edge of a podium into a medal position.

Simbine will be looking to do the 100-200m double at next year’s Olympic Games and will be racing both distances during the season.

He is one of only four South African men that have dipped below 20 seconds in the half-lap sprint event.

“We will be doing the 200m next yearafter this year Akani will want to compete in both,” Prinsloo said.

“We will have to make sure we don’t give Athletics SA a reason to leave him out of the 200m.”


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