At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year Simbine finished fifth in the final. His time of 20.36 seconds was a personal best at the time, but it has since improved to 20.27s.
According to coach Werner Prinsloo, Simbine finds himself in a similar position to Glasgow last year where he also failed to qualify for the 100 metres final but then went on to qualify for the 200-final.
Prinsloo does not consider the fact that Simbine has barely competed in the 200 metres this season as a problem. The Tuks/HPC athlete competed only twice over 200 metres, winning both races. In Pretoria his winning time was 20.27 seconds and in a cold and windy Karlstad he won in 20.64s.
“What is good is that there is no pressure on Akani. Whatever happens happens. But I know Akani. Once he settles in his starting blocks the only thing that matters to him is to run a good race,” said Prinsloo.
“He relishes the challenge of pushing himself to keep on trying to improve on his previous best times. He proved this in the 100 metres heats over the weekend. In his first race he realised that he had a bad start. He then focussed on not making the same mistakes in the semi-final, which is why his time was 0.07 seconds faster than in the heats.”
On Sunday Simbine finished fourth, in a time of 10.02s, in his 100 metre semi-final. If he had run 0.04 seconds faster he would have qualified for the final.
“It is just a matter of maturing into this type of competition. I can take many positives from my participation in the 100 metres at the World Championships. I have certainly gained valuable experience, which is important when you race against the best. The only realistic way for me to keep on improving as a sprinter is to get more opportunities to compete at this level.”
When asked about his participation in the 200 metres, the Tuks/HPC athlete said he would simply need to perform on the day.
“I know how to run the 200 metres. It is not new to me and I just need to go out there and do it.”
Simbine has a more than good chance to go through to the semi-finals as only Britain’s Zharnel Hughes (20.05s) and Jamaica’s Julian Forte have managed to run faster times than he this season.
Anaso Jobodwana, whose best time this season of 20.04 seconds places him 12th on the IAAF-rankings, will be the other South African competing in the 200 metres.
He should progress to the semi-final as Miguel Francis (Antigua & Barbuda) is the only other athlete in his heat who has managed to run times faster than 20.10s this season. His best time is 20.05s.