London - Watch out! There is a sprint revolution in South Africa and the rest of the world has started to recognise the phenomenon.
Ben Youssef of the Ivory Coast this week said double 400m world champion and world record holder (43.03 seconds) Wayde van Niekerk and South African 100m champion Akani Simbine will continue to take sprinting to another level.
Youssef is Simbine’s main 100m rival.
If Youssef’s words are to be believed, South Africa will soon emerge as a powerhouse in the sprinting department. The Ivorian is not the only one who has acknowledged this – US 100m silver medallist Christian Coleman, Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas and Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar agree.
Simbine is only 23, while Van Niekerk is 25.
Thando Roto (22) and Clarence Munyai (19) are also making good progress. Youssef, who failed to make the 100m men’s final, this week said: “South Africa has talented athletes. Wayde is on another level and Akani is at the right age to start dominating.
“Africa as a whole is also getting there, but South Africa seems to be doing a great job at the moment. There is something right that they are doing better than the rest of us.”
Van Niekerk said: “We are doing okay in sprinting at the moment, and we have young athletes making their way up. I just hope that Akani and I will inspire them to dream big.”
Gardiner, who took silver in the men’s 400m final behind Van Niekerk, said the South African poster boy was on another level.
“Wayde is too good to be stopped. South Africa has found itself a superstar. He seems to be here to dominate for a long time, too,” said Gardiner.
Coleman, who ran the world-leading time of 9.82 seconds in the 100m this year, said Simbine was a good sprinter.
“Wayde is up there and Simbine is on the rise. He is dangerous and he will soon have his moments,” he said.