Akani Simbine of SA and Michael Rodgers of the US compete in the men’s 100m in Florence, Italy, June 10 2021. Picture: MARCO M MANTOVANI/GETTY IMAGES
Akani Simbine of SA and Michael Rodgers of the US compete in the men’s 100m in Florence, Italy, June 10 2021. Picture: MARCO M MANTOVANI/GETTY IMAGES

New African 100m record-holder Akani Simbine says his 9.8 sec blitzkrieg in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday night has give him the confidence he wanted ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, but the job is not done yet.  

He won his race with a blistering run as he knocked 0.05 sec off his own SA mark‚ which he had set on the same track in 2016‚ and 0.01 off the African record.

“I feel really great breaking the record‚ it’s something that I’ve been chasing for the longest time. But the job is not done yet. This was just the first tick towards going to Tokyo. We had to do it now and I’m glad we did it on time,” Simbine said.

The first round of the men’s 100m at the Olympics is set for July 31‚ with the semifinals and final scheduled for August 1.

“I feel like we’re peaking at the right time‚” Simbine said from Europe‚ where he has been based with coach Werner Prinsloo since May.

“Coach timed it really well and he was expecting something now. I always said I needed to run fast before I go to Tokyo so I can have the confidence and the speed going into the Games, so now that it’s there I’m confident in what we do‚ I’m confident in the work that we’re doing‚ I’m confident in the process that we’re in.”

While Simbine is based in Gemona‚ Italy‚ he is heading to Monaco for the Diamond League tournament on Friday night in what will be a mini-Olympic final with a stacked field‚ including the owner of the 9.77 world lead‚ American Trayvon Bromell.

Simbine’s 9.84 ranks him second in the world in 2021 behind Bromell‚ and joint 12th on the all-time list.

In the history of sprinting‚ only 11 men have run faster than that — five of them were Jamaican‚ five American and one from Trinidad and Tobago.

Level with Simbine are Atlanta 1996 Olympic champion Donovan Bailey of Canada and his countryman Bruny Surin‚ an Olympic and world championship relay champion.

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