'Struggling' Simbine on fighting for Commonwealth silver: 'It fuels me more in my heart'

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South African sprinter Akani Simbine fought as hard as he had ever done to capture silver in the men's 100m final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Wednesday evening.

Simbine had to settle for second behind Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala after being unable to defend his 2018 Commonwealth Games title.

Running in lane 4, Simbine struggled out the starting blocks and, at the 50m, was trailing behind in fourth. But in true fighting spirit, Simbine surged in the last 25m to dip his head over the finish line and take silver in 10.13 seconds.

Omanyala powered his way through to be crowned the new Commonwealth champion in 10.02 seconds, with Sri Lanka's Yupun Abeykoon 0.01 milli-seconds behind Simbine to take bronze (10.14 seconds).

"I would've taken a sub-10 race and a clean race, but I'm struggling with my start at the moment, but I'm just happy, I came on the podium - the second time in the Commonwealth Games," said Simbine after the race.

"It was just to give it my all and try and make sure I get a clean race in, which I didn't. But I'm happy, I was able to fight and make my way back on the podium."

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Simbine admitted that he wasn't overly pleased with his performance but said the aime was always to reach the podium in Birmingham.

"To have medalled was always the goal, making sure I medal in major championships and I'm just happy I could fight my way back into a medal position," said Simbine.

"This year has been a championship year and to finally get a medal in a major event and finish off the year strong for me it's a plus.

"I'm happy, but not happy with the execution of my race. I'm happy I have a medal and I can go home with it, I'm on the podium again."

It was redemption for Simbine after finishing sixth at the World Championships in Oregon last month, and while he was a favourite to reach the Commonwealth Games podium, Simbine had nothing to lose.

It's Simbine's only race of the Commonwealth Games after South Africa's 4x100m relay team had to withdraw after three sprinters tested positive for Covid-19 this week.

At 28 years old, Simbine still has a long way to go as he pushes for the ultimate goal - reaching the podium in the World Athletics Championship and Olympic Games.

"It's my third Commonwealth Games, last one I won gold and this one I won silver. It fuels me more in my heart and to make sure I come back stronger next year," said Simbine.

"I've been in this race for a while, but I'm still young, I've made my name in the sprinting world.

"I hope I can stay in the game and keep pushing and one day get that Worlds and Olympic medal, and do our nation proud."

There's no rest for Simbine as he won't be returning home to celebrate his achievement. Instead, the sprinter is jetting off to Silesia, Poland, for the ninth Diamond League event.

Simbine is currently third in the 100m event on the Diamond League standings and hopes to finish his year off strong.

"I think I'm a really great athlete and sprinter, I work hard for this and work hard to be here, and I'll carry on working hard," he said.

"There's still a long way to go... I'm going to finish off the Diamond League season, I'm racing on Saturday in Poland so it's a quick turnaround. And then on Monday, I'm in Budapest, so it's a busy schedule for me, but I'm looking forward to it. "

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