"Nothing has changed. Akani hasn't changed." - Simbine ready to defend national 100m title today
Despite a sluggish start to the season that saw him beaten by Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala at last week's ASA Grand Prix Series Meet in Germiston, Akani Simbine remains confident that 2022 will be a great year. The South African 100m record holder who had already clocked 9.99 by the same time last year, could only manage 10.11 seconds at the World Tour Challenger event in Gauteng as the Kenyan ran 9.98. But as the two-time Olympic finalist prepares to defend his 100m title at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships, he has assured his fans not to worry.
"The Akani that dominates South Africa," was his answer when asked which Akani would show up at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town today. "Nothing has changed. Akani hasn't changed. Akani hasn't left. He's just doing things differently. It's not about dropping crazy times now at this time of the year. It's more about pacing yourself through the season and making sure that we're ticking all the boxes as the sprinter I want be and the goals I want to achieve. We are following a programming and trusting the programme," he said.
Following the disappointment of finishing fourth at #Tokyo2021 to just miss out on an Olympic medal, Simbine and his coach Werner Prinsloo did some reflection upon which they decided to adjust his annual training programme slightly in order to make sure that he peaks at the major championships during the northern hemisphere summer. in 2021 the 3-time national 100m champion ran his personal best and what was then an African record of 9.84 on July 6, which was just 3 weeks before the Olympic final. So the plan this year is to ensure that his peak fitness comes at the end of July and early August which should see him finish on the podium at the World Championships in Oregon.
"It was just another race for me. The season that we are trying to have, everything is new for me right now. I'm literally just a vessel that's learning. It just left me feeling more confident about the plan that coach and I have - confidence about what we are doing and that it is actually going to work. It's just about sticking to that plan," he explained when asked about the pain of losing to the man (Omanyala) that took his African record (9.77).
With that performance behind him and faith in his plan, the reigning Commonwealth 100m champion can approach the nationals without pressure. "No. I'm not under pressure. It's about going out there and running. Going out there and putting together my race. Running a national championship means that you are going to go for the title. Everything happens in it's own time. Everything happens when it's meant to happen," he concluded.
Simbine will be the main draw card when the national champs get underway at the Greenpoint Stadium today, with 400m World Record holder Wayde van Niekerk also expected to run the 100m and 200m, and not the one lap distance. National 100m record holder (10.98) Carina Horn who recently returned from a two year ban, will also be in action in the women's 100m. Catch the action throughout the day on SuperSport.