Akani Simbine: Team SA's forgotten man

2016-08-18 14:09
Akani Simbine and Wayde van Niekerk (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Amid the euphoria of Wayde van Niekerk's 400m gold medal - and world record - the performance of Akani Simbine in the 100m final tragically went unnoticed...

As Van Niekerk did his lap of honour (well deserved indeed), the finalists in the 100m took to their blocks.

Some 9.81 seconds later, Jamaica's Usain Bolt crossed the finish line first, further cementing his spot as the greatest sprinter of all time.

However, going largely unnoticed, Simbine, the South African record holder over the distance and running out of Lane 3, finished fifth in 9.94.

That time was 0.01 behind fourth-placed Jamaican Yohan Blake, and 0.03 adrift on bronze medal winner, Canada's Andre De Grasse.

Naturally the eyes of the world - and cameramen - focused on Bolt who kicked-started his bid for a 'triple treble' in the best possible fashion.

The 22-year-old Simbine was overlooked as social media went into overdrive, hailing the performances of Van Niekerk and Bolt - even at 03:25 SA time.

Just making the line-up for the final was a historic feat in itself.

In getting to that final, Simbine posted 10.14 in his heat and 9.98 in the semi-finals.

Simbine was the first South African man to make it into an Olympic 100m final in 84 years - since Danie Joubert in 1932 at the Los Angeles Olympics.

South Africa has a rich history over 100m at the Olympics, with Reggie Walker famously claiming gold back in 1908 in London.

Fast-forwarding to the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, Simbine is certainly one to watch.

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