Cape Town – Akani Simbine has bigger-picture plans in 2022, but he still intends to “dominate” at the Athletics South Africa national championships in Cape Town on Thursday.
The 28-year-old will contest the 100m event at the Green Point Athletics Stadium throughout today. The heats start at 10.30am, while the semi-finals begin at 2.45pm. The gun for the final will go off at 4.10pm.
Simbine has opted for a fresh approach this season, sitting out the first few ASA Grand Prix meetings and running a 300m and 200m race before his lone 100m in Germiston last week.
He finished second to Kenya’s African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala, who won in a superb 9.98 seconds. Simbine’s 10.11 was not to be sniffed at, though, considering where he is in his personal programme at the moment.
The two-time Olympic finalist’s focus is on the international season, and more specifically the world championships and Commonwealth Games in July and August.
But he is a true competitor, and wants to show that he is still the man to beat in South Africa at the national championships today.
“My plan for the weekend is to come out here and finish off the championship healthy. But at the same time, I need to also just follow the plans that Coach (Werner Prinsloo) and I have, and just trust in those plans and work with the plan that we have, because it’s going to be a long season and we are trying to do things differently this year,” Simbine said during a press conference at the Green Point Stadium on Wednesday.
“Just go out there tomorrow, dominate on the track. For me, running in South Africa has been very important, but I also need to make sure that I am still dominant here before I go out to Europe and dominate there!
“I’m focusing on the 100 – that’s my main goal. Going through to the rest of the season, the 100m will still be my focus.”
Simbine told Independent Media that the new plan was created after coming so close to a medal at major events such as the Olympics and world championships in recent years, but just missing out on a podium finish every time.
“Everybody is used to me starting in March, and running crazy times in March. We decided not to start this year off like that… To start gradually and fix what I need to fix, and sort things out. Just put the season together, so that when we get to the most important part of the season – which is June, July, August – because I want to be in a position where we’ve ticked all the boxes and nothing is left off,” he said.
“It’s doing things differently, which is a great opportunity for Coach and I, because now we are learning and in a space where we can grow again. That’s what we are looking for: to grow, even if it’s just that 0.01 percent. That growth will make a big difference in the athlete that I am and in the performance that I put out.”
It will be an action-packed three days in Cape Town, where Caster Semenya will attempt to qualify for the world championships in the 5 000m on Thursday.
A new star to look out for is junior sensation Viwe Jingqi, who will hope to clinch the 100m today, and is still considering whether to participate in the 200m as well.
“For this weekend, I’m planning on having fun, than having to stress myself about this whole competition! I just want to have fun with the seniors… seeing how much pressure I can put on them, because I have already qualified for the world junior championship,” the 17-year-old matric student at TuksSport High School said on Wednesday.
“So, I want to make history and scare the seniors even more! I want to show them that I can (compete). I’m cool, no pressure…”