LONDON – “Go out and just have fun.”
That is the advice Werner Prinsloo (coach) has given Akani Simbine for Monday when he settles down in his starting blocks to race the 200m heats (heat 6) at the IAAF World Championships in London.
The Tuks/HPC-athlete has been through a real “roller coaster ride” of emotions in the 100m over the past two days.
He got off to a really bad start when he finished 4th on Friday in his heat running 10.15s. He then had to wait for an agonising few minutes to find out whether he will go through to the semifinals.
Simbine went on to win his semi-final in 10.05s and then finished 5th in the final in a time of 10.01s. The same position he finished at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
Prinsloo is impressed with how Simbine regrouped after his disappointing performance in the heats.
“Akani showed a lot of character over the last two days. As luck would have it, his hip started to act up while he raced in the heats that led to him not being to sustain his top speed right to the end. Luckily it was nothing serious. The physiotherapist was able to sort it out.
“Before the semi-final, Akani and I had a discussion where we agreed that the only thing that mattered was for him to qualify for the final. That has been our goal from the start. The reasoning is that anything can happen in the final. I will admit that the outcome of the final was a complete surprise.”
Justin Gatlin (USA) won in 9.92s with Christian Coleman (USA) second in 9.94 and Usain Bolt (Jamaica) third in 9.95s. Yohan Blake (Jamaica) was fourth in 9.99s with Simbine a further 0.02s adrift.
Prinsloo said as far as he is concerned there is no pressure on Simbine when he competes in the 200m.
“Again our main goal will be to try and qualify for the final. If he does not do so and just set a new personal best, it will also as far as I am concerned to be mission accomplished.”
The Tuks/HPC-athlete will line up as the third fastest athlete in the 200m heats having set a best time of 19.95s earlier this season.
In heat five, Isaac Makwala (Botswana) tops the world rankings with a time of 19.77s with Wayde van Niekerk (heat 3) being the second fastest with a time of 19.84s.
In heat seven, Clarence Munyai (TuksSport High School) will line up in the heats as the 10th fastest athlete having clocked a time of 20.10s.
Africa News Agency