Akani Simbine breaks African 100m record in Hungary
Commonwealth Games champion beat some of the world’s best sprinters at the track where he posted his previous SA mark
Akani Simbine sounded a warning to the world as he clocked 9.84 sec to break the African 100m record and leave some of the world’s best sprinters eating his dust on Tuesday evening.
The Commonwealth Games champion‚ running at the same track in Hungary where he posted his previous 9.89 SA mark in 2016‚ pulled away from his rivals in the second half of the race.
Wily veteran Mike Rodgers‚ one of four Americans in the line-up‚ was second in 10.00.
Third-placed Marvin Bracy‚ with a season’s best of 9.85‚ and evergreen performer Justin Gatlin‚ who had got the better of Simbine at the 2019 world championships‚ would have needed binoculars to see the SA speedster cross the finish line.
Simbine’s time also eclipsed the 9.85 African mark Olusoji Adetokunbo Fasuba of Nigeria had owned since May 2006 and the 9.86 meeting record held by Jamaican Asafa Powell.
It placed him joint second on the world list‚ one-hundredth of a second quicker than Bracy and Ronnie Baker‚ another American.
But the real value of this performance will be the confidence it will give Simbine before the Tokyo Olympics.
His build-up had been aimed at breaking his national record and getting a fast time in his legs to carry into Japan.
That job is done‚ though he is scheduled to run in what could be a dress rehearsal for the Olympic final at the Monaco Diamond League on Friday night.
There he will face the fastest man in the world so far in 2021‚ American Trayvon Bromell‚ who went 9.77 a month ago‚ and his two compatriots‚ Baker and Fred Kerley‚ with a 9.86 season’s best.
Canada’s Andre de Grasse‚ the Olympic bronze medallist from Rio 2016‚ is also in the race.
Simbine‚ fourth at the 2019 world championships and fifth at the most recent Olympics‚ is ready to cash in on the silverware.
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