Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Simbine and Jingqi win national 100m titles

Simbine ran 10.01 and Jingqi clocked 11.23.

Pre-race favourites Akani Simbine and Viwe Jingqi lived up to the hype on Friday, winning the national 100m titles to close out the second day of action at the SA Athletics Championships in Pietermaritzburg.

Simbine won his sixth SA title in the short dash, stopping the clock at 10.01 seconds.

He finished well clear of junior athletes Bayanda Walaza (10.27) and Bradley Nkoana (10.29) who took second and third.

“I was hoping to finish the South African season with a sub-10, but I’m happy to go 10.01. I can’t complain about that and it’s important that I finished the race healthy,” Simbine said.

“This now sets me up for my next race in China next week. I’m really looking forward to starting the Diamond League season and just getting my bid for the Olympics started, and showing the world what I’ve got.”

Jingqi shines against seniors

Jingqi, meanwhile, outclassed her senior opponents, with the 19-year-old prospect winning gold in the women’s final in 11.23, just 0.01 outside her personal best.

Experienced campaigner Tamzin Thomas grabbed the silver medal in 11.47 and Gabriella Marais (11.67) secured bronze.

“I feel like I’m getting back to my best, and winning this race means my confidence is slowly getting there,” said Jingqi, who struggled with injuries last year.

“This was not a junior race. I was racing against seniors who have competed on the world stage, so I was nervous and there was a lot of pressure, and now I feel fantastic.”

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Akani Simbine athletics