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#TuksAthletics: Simbine won't race Gatlin at the Athletics Grand Prix at Tuks
9 February 2018

The South African 100m champion, Akani Simbine, won’t race against Justlin Gatlin at the Athletics Grand Prix Series at the Tuks Stadium on 8 March.

It is rumoured that the World Champion specifically requested to race over 150 metres so as not to have to face the Tuks Athlete so early in the season. At last year’s first Diamond League Meeting in Doha Simbine outsprinted Gatlin to win in 9.99s.

It is a pity because that the two champions won’t compete against each other especially since the Tuks athletics track is known to be conducive to fast times and it is at high altitude. The two champions probably would have clocked serious fast times.

Werner Prinsloo (Simbine’s coach) is not too fazed about his athlete not getting the chance to race Gatlin on his home track. 

“We are not going to waste time thinking about what could have been.  Akani will compete in the 100m at the Grand Prix-meeting as it is the distance in which he has set himself three goals major goals for the season. He wants to medal at the Commonwealth Games and the African Championships and set a new Africa record over 100 metres. It means he will need to dip below 9.85s. If he wins at the African Championships, he will also get to compete at the Continental Cup.”

Prinsloo said he had not made any serious changes in Simbine’s training program. 

“In the past, we specifically focussed on making sure that Akani is faster out of the starting blocks as he tended to lose out over the first 20 metres in major races. That is no longer a problem.  If Akani has a good start, there are very few sprinters who will be able to beat him. 

"At the moment it is all about marginal gains for him to become a consistent sub 9.90s sprinter. So we are working on a few small things in his technique.  The nice thing about it not being an Olympic or World Championships year is that we can afford to experiment a bit to see what works and what not.”

Clarence Munyai  is another of the top Tuks sprinters who won’t race Gatlin. According to his coach, Hennie Kriel, he is also going to race the 100 metres. 

Last year Munyai set a junior world’s best over the 300 metres running 31.61s in Ostrava. He also set a new South African junior 200m record running 20.10s and won gold at the African Junior Championships in Algeria.

Thando Roto (TuksAthletics) who ran 9.95s last year and won a silver medal at the World Student Games is still recovering from an injury.

 

- Author Wilhelm de Swardt
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Last edited by Leonore JordaanEdit