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Athletics | SA Track & Field

Akani Simbine © Gallo Images

Simbine is starting to find form in Europe



Akani Simbine (Tuks) raced to a second place finish in the 100m on Wednesday during the IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Ostrava.

The World Champion, Justin Gatlin (USA), won running 10.03s. Simbine’s time was 10.13s with Mike Rodgers (USA) third in 10.15s. Rodgers is so far this season the second fastest sprinter having clocked a time of 9.92s ten days ago in Praha.

Werner Prinsloo (coach) is, for now, satisfied with Simbine’s performance. According to him, Simbine managed to execute his race much better than he did during the Rome Diamond League Meeting where he was fifth also running 10.13s.

Usually, by this time of the season, Simbine would have clocked at least one sub ten seconds race, but he has not. His best time is 10.03s. It is surprising how few athletes have dipped under ten seconds. Only nine have been able to do so. Not even the likes of Gatlin or Yohan Blake (Jamaica) have done so yet. “There are still a few small things we need to work on before Akani is “firing” on all cylinders. Our goal is that he should be at his best at the African Championships as he wants to medal. That is why for now we are not too concerned about running fast times. If he can get a top three finish like he did last night, it is a job well done as far as I am concerned. Akani will compete in few more races than originally planned.”

Prinsloo admits that the times the world’s best sprinters ran seems slower than usual. He ascribes it to the fact that there is no major event this year, so most athletes plan to peak at the European and the USA Championships.

“I am sure the winning times of the sprinters will improve from next month.”

Luvo Manyonga got beaten in the long jump again by Cuba’s, Juan Miguel Echevarria. The 19-year old jumped 8.66m, with the South African finishing second with a best effort of 8.31m. Ruswahl Samaai was third jumping 8.15m.

Anaso Jobodwana was sixth in the 200m running 20.48s while Antonio Alkana finished sixth in the 110m-hurdles (13.65s).

**Wenda Nel (Tuks) won the 400m-hurdles in Espoo, Finland. Her winning time was 56.10s.

The South African champion is the first to admit that her time is nothing to get excited about.

“At least it is a much better performance than my last race where my time was 57.47s. Last night I felt like I could have run 55 seconds, but unfortunately, I made a few mistakes especially going over the last hurdle,” said Nel whose next race is on 26 June in Copenhagen.



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