Simbine on way back to top form
Sprinter insists he can handle the pressure of being considered as a medal hopeful
Fresh from claiming a disappointing bronze medal at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban, South African sprinter Akani Simbine is off to a training camp in Italy with Wayde van Niekerk, and will do a few races overseas before the Olympic Games in August.
Simbine sustained a hamstring injury in April and he thought that his Olympic dream was over when he was helped off the track at the SA athletics championships in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
But he has since undergone a oneand-a-half month rehabilitation and he is working hard to rediscover his form.
The 22-year-old still managed to get much-needed training at a camp with Olympic superstar Usain Bolt in Jamaica, who he will be running against at the Olympics.
Simbine’s biggest challenge now is to make sure that he has fully recovered in time for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, which start on August 5.
Although he took part in the Confederation of African Athletics Senior Championships at the Kings Park Stadium in Durban this week, he was far from his best, clocking 10.05 seconds in the men’s 100m final.
He came third behind Ben Youssef Meïté of Ivory Coast, who came in at 9.95, with Mosito Lehata of Lesotho settling for a silver medal with 10.04.
Simbine said: “I’m still getting back to my usual running form. I’m getting back to being race-fit as I stopped racing for a month and a half because of my injury, and getting back into competition is not easy.
“It’s been really tough managing my rehabilitation, flying and training.”
Simbine said he would rather be fit for the Olympics, where the stakes were much higher.
The athlete was still jet-lagged from his flight from Jamaica when he raced in the 100m heats on Tuesday. The 10 000m
100m – silver, women’s
100m hurdles – gold, women’s – bronze, women’s
Victor Hagan Russell Tucker Ruswahl Samaai
jump – gold, discus – silver, discus – gold, long
jump – gold, men’s – silver, long stage was set for him to claim the African title on home soil, but he could only manage a bronze medal.
He said: “It didn’t go as planned, but I’m happy that I’m showing a bit of consistency since my injury.
“The Ivorian is in peak form and I’m not. I’m just happy with my recovery, but not with the bronze medal.” 100m – silver, men’s
women’s 1 500m – gold, women’s
high jump – gold, – silver, men’s
– gold, men’s senior decathlon, – gold, women’s shotput heptathlon – silver, men’s
Nienka du Toit Jacob Rozani
Together with his friend Van Niekerk, Simbine is seen as a medal prospect at the Olympics.
He said: “I know what I’m capable of and everyone knows that, and I will go out there and do what I can to win a medal. I believe in myself. It’s not just me, there is Wayde, Gift [Tlotliso Leotlela] and Caster [Semenya] and I’m optimistic that we can do it.”