Akani Simbine is consistently proving why he will be a major force in the 100m this year, as he posted the fastest time in the 100m by a South African sprinter on home soil, crossing the line in 9.92s at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships today, Saturday, March 18th.
Simbine, first clocked a fast 9.98s in the heats on Friday, before improving his time further in the finals today, clocking a Season’s Best (SB) of 9.92s (+1.7) which sees him top in the world rankings this year. Thando Roto led from the start till the last 30m, before Simbine got his momentum back and dipped in to take the win.
Roto finished 2nd in 9.95s which is a new Personal Best (PB), shaving off 0.23s from his previous mark, and he now becomes the fifth South African to dip below 10s. For Simbine, it is the tenth time in his career that he will be going under 10s, and there is no betting against his huge prospects in the sport.
Interestingly, this is the first time that two South African men will run a sub-10s in the same race, which also further lends credence to the impressive form Simbine is in. Only two weeks ago, he became the first South African to clock a sub-10s and 20s in a day.
If he maintains this consistency, who knows he could be the first to surpass the African Record (AR) of 9.85s held by Nigeria’s Olusoji Fasuba, while also strengthening his position as a huge medal contender at the World Championships in London.
Meanwhile, teenage sensations Sokwakhana Zazini and Gift Leotlela were also in record breaking forms on the first day.
Zazini, set a world U18 best of 48.84s (84cm) in the 400m hurdles, to erase 0.17s off the previous mark set by USA’s William Wynne in 2007, while Leotlela raced to 10.12s in the 100m heat, to break the country’s junior record of 10.19s previously held by Simbine, which also guarantees his ticket to London.
With the performances that South African sprinters have shown so far this year, it’ll be mouthwatering to see how good their men’s 4x100m team will perform at the World Relays in Bahamas, considering World Record holder in the 400m, Wayde Van Niekerk may also be included in the team, and if all things go to plan, they could be challenging the Americans and Jamaicans for the top position.