Athletics

Akani Simbine delighted with electric 200m race despite losing to Wayde van Niekerk

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Akani Simbine
Akani Simbine
Jewel SAMAD / AFP
  • 100m sprinter Akani Simbine was far from disappointed in finishing second behind Wayde van Niekerk in an electric 200m race that took place on Tuesday.
  • Simbine started the race well, but was hauled in at the bend by Van Niekerk, who went on to win the race.
  • Simbine's focus now shifts to the national championships that take place next month.


The rain at the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium may have slightly dampened the electric 200m race that saw Akani Simbine being pipped to the post by 400m Olympic and World Record holder Wayde van Niekerk on Tuesday, but Simbine was far from disappointed.

The 27-year-old Simbine, who is the reigning Commonwealth Games 100m champion while also being the 100m national record holder, was beaten into second place (20.29) by Van Niekerk (20.10).

The star-studded race was also graced by Botswana’s Isaac Makwala and 2015 World Championship bronze medallist Anaso Jobobwana where they finished fifth and sixth respectively. Simbine said it was lovely to have a race of that magnitude take place.

"It is always great running against the likes of Wayde, Anaso and Isaac. They are great athletes and they bring out the best in me. It was great that we could all come out to race and face each other.

"I was happy that I ran and we put together a good race. We hyped this race up and we were happy that we brought some excitement to the South African athletics community."

While the rain hardened after the blue-chip sprint was completed, Simbine, who said he was happy with how he pulled through the 200m, said he let himself down at the bend.

He started better than Van Nierkerk, but the 400m specialist took charge of the race at the end and cruised down the home straight.

Having won consecutive 100m races last week, for Simbine, it's all about making sure the body remains in great shape.

"Coming into the bend, that was terrible, but I am happy with the load that my body is taking and I was happy with the race. I raced last week, this past weekend and just now, so I’m just happy that I’m healthy and I’m keeping it going," Simbine said.

"It is a combination of a few things and I can't really say what it is. You can’t point it to one thing. You can say it is the body, but I am happy with the run and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."

With the South African Athletics Championships taking place next month, Simbine is happy with where he is now.

"It's a tester to see where we are as compared to last year and this year, I really feel better than I was last year. I’m excited for the year and the South African Championships that take place in two weeks and see what I can do there," Simbine said.

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