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