Cape Town - South African champion Akani Simbine has spoiled fans over the last two years with his speedy exploits on home soil, so some might have been slightly surprised by his winning time of 10.05 in the 100m during Thursday night’s Athletics Grand Prix-meeting at Tuks.
But don’t despair.
Werner Prinsloo who coaches the Tuks-athlete is confident that he will run a "real fast time" during next week’s South African Championships.
“I would have been worried if Akani ran 9.92 as I am a firm believer in it not how you start but how you finish. There is still a long season ahead. Because it is his first race of the season I am happy with a time of 10.05. We don’t want to be running sub-10s races now, and by the end of the season when it matters, he battles to do so.
“Last night the focus was on executing his acceleration over the first 60 metres to perfection. During training, we worked quite hard on it as it is crucial. If Akani gets that right, he will race too fast times as his top end speed is always good.
“I am confident that he will run sub-10s in the semi-final or the final of the South African Championships as the conditions for sprinting will be better. Akani tends to race better at championships as he gets faster and faster in the build-up to the final.”
The Tuks-athlete will be competing in the 100m and the 200m at the national championships. Prinsloo admits to it not being their original plan. But in 2016 Simbine was not selected to race the 200m at the Olympic Games because he did not compete in the longer sprint at the national championships.
“Akani has set his mind on competing in both sprints at the African Championships. In light of that, we are not taking any chances. That is why he is racing both sprints. Perhaps it is not bad that he is doing both as it will help Akani to get race-fit before the Commonwealth Games.”
If the weather allows for it, Prinsloo is confident that Simbine might also dip under-20s in the 200m. Clarence Munyai (Tuks) who was second on Thursday night in the 100m running 10.22 has for the moment put racing the short sprint on hold.
“I know I can dip under 10 seconds, but because I am racing the 200 metres at the Commonwealth Games it is important that I now only focus on running the perfect race over the longer sprint,” said Munyai who earlier this season improved his 100m time to 10.10. His best time in the 200m at the moment is 20.10.