Akani Simbine runs worlds fastest 100m of 2020

The South African clocks 9.91 seconds in his 100m season opener in Pretoria

By Evelyn Watta ·

Akani Simbine sped to a world lead 9.91 seconds in the 100m at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria on Saturday.

The 9.91 from the heats was the fastest time ever on South African soil.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games champion got the explosive start he had planned for to his Olympic season as he dipped just 0.02 seconds short of his national record of 9.89 from Hungary (2016).

Simbine turned in dominant performances winning all three of his rounds at the Tuks track.

He slowed to 10.03 in the semi-finals before just missing another sub-10 in his day’s final race as he clocked 10.01 seconds. Fellow 2016 Rio Olympian Henricho Bruintjies (10.08) and 2019 World championships relay finalist Simon Magakwe (10.31) finished second and third respectively.

““The plan was to run good times because this could be one of his only chances to compete. Whatever races we have now the plan is to go for it," ” Simbine’s coach, Werner Prinsloo told the Times Live.

Doubling up at Tokyo 2020

The 26-year-old intends to compete both in the 100m and 200m at Tokyo 2020.

The African champion is hoping to pick up where he signed off last year.

Simbine had a consistent last season winning the Diamond League at the London Anniversary Games and making the final at the Worlds.

He finished fourth in 9.93 behind the winner Christian Coleman.

"I just need to focus on bettering my race and being more clinical when it matters and that will help me improve as a championship runner,” he told the Citizen after his season opener at the Backtrack Newton Classic Shootout meeting at the University of Johannesburg in February.

In his first outdoor run he took the men’s 150m race in 15.0.

The other star attraction at the meeting in Pretoria was double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya who won the 200m in a personal best 23.49.

Semenya hopes to hit the qualifying mark of 22.80 for Tokyo 2020.