Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Simbine unfazed by opposition as he sets his sights on gold medal

Junior athlete Viwe Jingqi was fastest in the women's 100m semifinals.

Akani Simbine has warned his opponents that they need to be ready to run under 10 seconds if they hope to beat him in the 100m final at the SA Athletics Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Friday afternoon.

Chasing his sixth national title in the short sprint, the SA record holder clocked 10.27 to win his semifinal on Thursday, running into a -1.4m/s headwind without reaching top gear.

While 18-year-old Bayanda Walaza won the other heat in 10.31, nobody else dipped under 10.40.

“There’s no one I’m really worried about. The fact that I can do what I just did in the semifinal, sitting in the blocks and then just striding through, I can’t think of anyone else (in the same form),” said Simbine, who had earlier won his first-round heat in 10.07.

“I know there are kids who are running fast, but if they want to go at me they need to be in nine-second shape because that’s where I’m at. They have to be in that shape and I don’t think anybody here is.”

Jingqi focussing on herself

Junior athlete Viwe Jingqi was also not focussing on other athletes who had qualified in the final, as she targeted her first national senior title in the women’s 100m sprint.

Jingqi won her semifinal in 11.51, while experienced campaigner Tamzin Thomas won the other semifinal in 11.60.

“I really don’t worry about other people. I just focus more on myself, honestly, because I realise if I focus too much on other people, I’m taking myself back,” Jingqi said.

“So I’m not really worried about who I’m running with. I’m not saying I’m not scared – it’s natural to be nervous – but it’s not that scary.”

The women’s 100m final is scheduled to be held at 5.20pm on Friday and the men’s race is at 5.30pm. It will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

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