Cape Town - Akani Simbine’s quest for IAAF World Championships silverware got that
much easier on Thursday with the withdrawal of Olympic medallist,
Andre de Grasse.
According to the SASCOC website, the Canadian sprinter has pulled out the World Championships in London, blaming a muscle tear.
Announcing his withdrawal, the 22-year-old said in a statement:
‘Earlier this week in practice, I suffered a hamstring tear that has
forced me to withdraw from the World Championships.
‘Injuries are a part of the sport, and the timing of this one is
especially unfortunate. While I’m in the best shape of my life and
extremely disappointed that I will not have the chance to compete for my
country in London, I can’t forget or be ungrateful for the successes
that I’ve been blessed with up to this point in my career.
‘Thank you to my family, friends and fans that have supported me all the way ... I’ll be back stronger and faster than ever.’
While his season-best 100m time of ‘only’ 10.01 seconds possibly
belies De Grasse’s claim to be in the best shape of his life, he would
nevertheless have been a big threat to Simbine’s medal charge.
He made the Olympic final in Rio last year where he ran his personal
best time of 9.91 to bag bronze. Simbine was fifth in the same race
with a time of 9.94.
This year, Simbine has dipped under the 10 second barrier on eight
occasions (albeit five of them at altitude).
His quickest at sea level
is the 9.99 he ran in racing to a maiden Diamond League victory in
Doha and since then he’s twice run the same time in Europe.