Despite getting his season off to a horrible start, national sprint star Akani Simbine is confident he will regain his best form as he targets multiple international titles later this year.
Simbine settled for seventh place in the men’s 200m race at the ASA Grand Prix meeting in Potchefstroom on Wednesday night, trailing home in 21.08 seconds, well off the pace of former national champion Luxolo Adams who won in 20.28.
Throughout his career, 28-year-old Simbine has done well to peak twice a year, delivering world-class performances during the domestic season and again during the international campaign.
His season opener this week was therefore a concern. He should never run outside 21 seconds in a 200m race – South Africa has 16-year-old athletes who can run quicker – and that sort of time suggests Simbine is nowhere near where he needs to be this year.
Admitting he was “rusty” in the early stages of a packed 2022 campaign, Simbine was nonetheless positive about the year ahead, as he aimed to defend his 100m titles at the African Championships and Commonwealth Games and targeted a maiden medal at the World Championships in Eugene.
“I am in the first stages of training and happy that I finished my first race healthy,” said Simbine, who holds the national 100m record of 19.84 and a 200m personal best of 19.95
“It is a championship year, and we are getting ready to make sure I am at my best when the time comes.
“I want to defend my 100m titles in the African Championships and Commonwealth Games. I want to do better than last year and make the podium at the World Championships in Oregon later this year.
“I will also be ready to defend my title at the senior national championships in Cape Town (later this month).”