Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
7 Jul 2021
6:41 pm

SA’s sprint king Simbine says he has unfinished business at Olympics

Wesley Botton

"I feel like we're peaking at the right time," Simbine said after his new record run in Hungary.

Akani Simbine says he is peaking at the right time ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Picture: Marco M Mantovani/Getty Images

Though he is pleased with his record-breaking form, Akani Simbine says his sights this season are firmly set on Tokyo, where he has unfinished business at the Olympic Games.

Simbine clocked 9.89 seconds in July 2016, and he went on to finish fifth in the 100m final at the Rio Olympic Games.

The following year he was fifth again at the World Championships in London and in 2019 he took fourth place at the global championships in Doha.

Having proved his ability to win when it counts, after securing the African title and Commonwealth Games gold in 2018, Simbine hopes to deliver in Tokyo by stepping on the podium at the highest level of the sport.

ALSO READ: Akani Simbine breaks African 100m record

And after clocking 9.84 in Hungary on Tuesday night, shattering his five-year-old national record, he feels he is ready to take on the world’s best in the track and field competition at the quadrennial showpiece early next month.

“I feel like we’re peaking at the right time,” Simbine said.

“Coach (Werner Prinsloo) timed it well and he expected something now, and I’ve always said I needed to run fast before I go to Tokyo so I can have confidence and speed going into the Games.

“So now that it’s there I’m confident in the work that we’re doing and the process we are in.”

Having come within 0.04 of his national record every season since 2017, Simbine was relieved to finally crack his mark, breaking the long-standing African record of 9.85 in the process.

He climbed to second place in the 100m world rankings this year, behind American sprinter Trayvon Bromell (9.77), and settled in a tie for 12th position in the all-time rankings over the short sprint distance.

With his latest performance boosting his confidence, the 27-year-old speedster was eager to carry his impressive form into the Tokyo Games.

“It’s something I’ve been chasing for the longest time, but the job is not done yet,” Simbine said.

“This was just the first tick towards going to Tokyo.”