Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
SIMBINE FACES GLOBAL ELITE IN NEW YORK
Akani Simbine is up against Tyson Gay at the New York Diamond League (photo credit: Reg Caldecott)
As he prepares to face another world-class field in New York on Saturday, Akani Simbine remains focussed on his own improvement, rather than being caught up in a chase against global stars.
Six of the eight men in the men’s 100m line-up at the Diamond League meeting, spearheaded by controversial former world champion Tyson Gay of the United States, have gone under 10 seconds in their careers.
“Getting worked up about what other athletes might do is a futile exercise,” Simbine said on Friday.
“I can only give my best and whatever happens, happens.”
Despite clocking 10.02 in Pretoria last year, and building on his fine form with a 10.08 performance in Rome last week, the 21-year-old High Performance Centre athlete was reluctant to commit to a sub-10 showing this weekend.
“I know that, if I continue to put in the long hard hours of training and run the right races, it will be only a matter of time before I start running times faster than 10 seconds.
“In the end it all boils down to biding my time and not becoming obsessed. Patience is definitely a virtue.”
Fellow Tuks athletes LJ van Zyl and Orazio Cremona will also turn out in New York, along with University of Free State speedster Wayde van Niekerk.
Van Zyl will be eager to improve his season’s best of 49.26 seconds against a quality line-up including in-form World Championships silver medallist Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley of the United States.
Cremona, meanwhile, is targeting an improved performance after finishing eighth in the men’s shot put (18.94m) at a European Permit meeting in Prague on Monday.
European Under-23 champion Jakub Szyszkowski of Poland is the only athlete in the nine-man field in the Big Apple who has not thrown further than Cremona’s 20.49m season’s best.
“In Prague everything just fell apart. My body felt flat,” Cremona said.
“If I am honest, I have to admit that it was tough to handle my throw of merely 18.94m, but I don’t like to make excuses so I simply have to take responsibility.”
Van Niekerk, the national 400m record holder, will aim to build on his impressive 2015 form, after clocking 44.91 in the domestic campaign and smashing the African 300m record in Birmingham last week.
The 22-year-old one-lap specialist, who set his SA mark of 44.38 at the same meeting last year, will enter the race as one of the favourites.
While Olympic and world champion Kirani James of Grenada is not in the field, Van Niekerk is up against four other men who have run under 45 seconds this year.
* The New York Diamond League will be broadcast live at 6.50pm, on SuperSport 4, on Saturday night