Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
15 May 2015
1:00 pm

Q&A with Akani Simbine

Wesley Botton

Akani Simbine has been tipped to break Simon Magakwe's national record of 9.98 seconds in the 100m sprint this season. We sat down with the 21-year-old speedster from Tuks this week to find out a little more about the man behind the athlete.

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA: Akani Simbine in action during the Gauteng North League Athletics Meeting (Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images)

The Citizen: Hi Akani. Thanks for joining us.
Akani Simbine: Hi, it’s my pleasure.

The Citizen: Are there any athletes you look up to at international level?
Akani Simbine: I’m a big football fan, but in athletics I’ve tried to model my career off (Jamaican sprinter) Yohan Blake. We’re similar athletes because we’ve got a similar build – short and stocky – so I see a bit of myself in him. I’ve also always looked up to Asafa Powell, and you can’t help admiring Usain Bolt. He’s the best in the world and I want to be his equal, or even better than him, so I pick up on some of the things he does.

The Citizen: And in football? Who do you support?
Akani Simbine: I support Chelsea and Kaizer Chiefs. My favourite players are David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane. They’ve both retired but they were great players.

The Citizen: How many hours a day do you spend training?
Akani Simbine: Depending on the day, between four and six hours.

The Citizen: Aside from studying (information science at the University of Pretoria) what do you do with the rest of your time?
Akani Simbine: I play Playstation. Haha. I find it’s a good way to relax and let go a bit. Fifa is my favourite game. I also like watching TV series.

The Citizen: Do you have a car? What do you drive?
Akani Simbine: Yes, I do. I drive a Ford Fiesta ST.

The Citizen: Are there any gadgets in your life you couldn’t do without?
Akani Simbine: I’d probably struggle to get by without my cellphone, and my laptop.

The Citizen: What’s your favourite food? Do you stick to a strict diet?
Akani Simbine: I like spaghetti and mince. I don’t really follow a diet but I don’t eat takeouts, only home-cooked food. I stay at the Tuks sports house and I usually eat at the High Performance Centre canteen. They’ve got a lot of options.

The Citizen: When you’re finished your career and you’re looking back, what do you want to have achieved?
Akani Simbine: I want to have won medals at major championships, and I want to know I was one of the fastest, if not the fastest, guys in the world. I also want to help make athletics one of the most popular sports in South Africa, taking it to the same level as football, rugby and cricket.

The Citizen: Thanks and for your time, and good luck with the rest of the season.
Akani Simbine: You’re welcome. Thank you.

DON’T MISS: Our page three profile on Akani Simbine in tomorrow’s paper