Do not write off sprinter Akani Simbine just yet

Many in the athletics world had written him off saying he was over the hill, but Akani Simbine keeps bouncing back to winning ways.

According to Athletics SA, the national record holder fired a warning at his fellow title contenders by winning the men’s 100m race at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on Thursday night, showcasing his form ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene later in July.

Running into a slight headwind, Simbine won convincingly in 10.02, and though it was not his fastest time, it would have given him a confidence boost ahead of the global championships.

Reece Prescod of Great Britain took the runner-up spot in 10.15 and Jimmy Vicaut of France was third in 10.19.

Meanwhile, Prudence Sekgodiso finished sixth in the women’s 800m race in 1:59.52. The 21-year old national champion dipped under two minutes again, crossing the line less than two seconds behind Kenyan athlete Mary Moraa, who won the race in 1:57.68.

Former world junior champion Sokwakhana Zazini settled for eighth place in the men’s 400m hurdles contest in 49.80. Olympic bronze medalist Alison dos Santos of Brazil secured a comfortable victory in 46.80, clocking the fastest time in the world this year.

Two other SA athletes also shone in the pre-programme at the top-flight Diamond League meeting.

African champion Zeney van der Walt won the women’s 400m hurdles “B” race in 44.99, while in-form compatriot Taylon Bieldt took second place in 55.30, with both athletes setting personal bests.

The next leg of the Diamond League series will be held in Chorzow, Poland on August 6.

“Congratulations to Akani, his coach and his support staff for this win, making it his second Diamond League podium finish this year. It is what he needs before the World Championships in USA in the next two weeks,” said ASA (Athletics South Africa) president James Moloi.

“It is a major personal achievement for athletes to participate in the Diamond League because it validates that you are among the best in the world.”

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Xolile Mtshazo

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