Strong wind denies Simbine new national record

Strong wind denies Simbine new national record

Akani Simbine tore up Tuks Stadium track in spectacular fashion, charging over the line to produce a stunning result on Thursday afternoon. 

Akani Simbine
Reg Caldecott/TuksSport

Simbine’s performance brought to a close the opening day of the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Pretoria.

He won his 100m semi-final in 9.82 seconds and although he had the benefit of a +2.8m/s tailwind, he proved his five-year-old national record was in danger ahead of Friday's final.

“I’m very excited by this result. I've been working towards this for a long time,” Simbine said. 

“Even though it’s wind-assisted, it shows I have it in the legs and my body can go this fast. It's about trying to put together the perfect race and getting my phases right. If I do that, anything can happen and the times will come.”

Gift Leotlela, a former 200m silver medallist at the World Athletics U20 Championships, also delivered a superb performance, clocking 9.94 to win his semi-final with a +3.6m/s wind.

Earlier in the day, two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya successfully defended her national 5 000m title in 15:52.28. 

Semenya, who is aiming to achieve the qualifying standard of 15:10.00 for the Tokyo Olympics this season, held off a challenge from Athletics Gauteng North teammate Glenrose Xaba who took second place in 15:55.25.

“I'm happy with how the race went today and with where we are at the moment. I'm not focussing on Tokyo yet. We're still building up to that. We will try for the qualifying time when the time is right and if it comes then it comes, but for me right now it's about having fun,’ said Semenya.

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