Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


Time is running out for Simbine to grab the medal he deserves

Simbine will have to try again at the Olympic Games in Paris next year.


For all he has achieved, it will be a real pity if Akani Simbine retires without a major global medal, but time is running out for South Africa's fastest man. Looking back on his career, Simbine has achieved just about everything he can. He is a former African record holder, as well as a former gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games, the African Championships and the World Student Games. He is also a former medallist at the Continental Cup and the World Relays, and a seven-time winner at top-flight Diamond League races. ALSO READ: World Athletics Champs: Five stars to…

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For all he has achieved, it will be a real pity if Akani Simbine retires without a major global medal, but time is running out for South Africa’s fastest man.

Looking back on his career, Simbine has achieved just about everything he can. He is a former African record holder, as well as a former gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games, the African Championships and the World Student Games.

He is also a former medallist at the Continental Cup and the World Relays, and a seven-time winner at top-flight Diamond League races.

ALSO READ: World Athletics Champs: Five stars to watch in the SA team

In addition, he has firmly established himself as the most consistent sprinter on the global circuit in recent years, dipping under 10 seconds in the 100m event for the last nine seasons in a row.

Between 2016 and 2022, he also reached the finals at three successive editions of the World Championships and two Olympic Games.

And he achieved all this in the most competitive, prestigious discipline in track and field – the 100m sprint.

Elusive medal

Considering the career he has had, it has seemed inevitable that he will one day step on the podium at the World Championships or the Olympic Games. So it was bitterly disappointing when he was disqualified for a false start in the semifinals at the World Championships in Budapest over the weekend.

It was a wide open field and, quite frankly, nobody in the line-up deserved a medal more than the 29-year-old South African.

Even silver medallist Letsile Tebogo of Botswana admitted after the final on Sunday that he would have given up his spot for Simbine had he been allowed – a kind gesture which shows just how well respected Simbine is as a powerhouse of African athletics.

It’s not over, and Simbine will get at least one more chance to secure that long awaited global medal, and what better place to break his drought and silence his critics than the biggest stage of them all – the Olympic Games.

If he steps on the podium at next year’s Paris Olympics, it will be a crowning achievement to a spectacular career. If not, he’ll retire with a blemish on his record that he really doesn’t deserve.

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