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Struggling Simbine in doubt for 200m heats

06 August 2017 - 10:13 By David Isaacson
Akani Simbine. File photo.
Akani Simbine. File photo.
Image: Robert Hradil/Gallo Images

Akani Simbine finished fifth in an historic men’s 100m final in London on Saturday night‚ but then warned injury might force him out of the 200m.

He was one of three South Africans attempting doubles at the world championships‚ alongside Wayde van Niekerk (400m-200m) and Caster Semenya (1500m-800m).

But Simbine said his further participation here was under threat‚ the result of a hip impingement that had affected him in the heats.

“I had a hip impingement that I had to deal with. My hip wasn’t in line so I was running in pain in the heats.”

Asked if he would be okay for the 200m heats on Monday morning‚ he replied: “We’ll see because I have to go deal with it now tonight and then tomorrow as well.”

Simbine’s fifth was the same position he managed at the Olympics last year‚ but ahead of him Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman spoiled Usain Bolt’s farewell party to give the US their first 100m gold-silver haul since 2001.

Gatlin‚ 35‚ won the race in 9.92 with Coleman clocking 9.94 and Bolt 9.95. Yohan Blake was fourth in 9.99 and 23-year-old Simbine fifth in 10.01.

With just nine-hundredths of a second separating the top five places‚ this was the closest 100m final at a championship since Carl Lewis won at Tokyo 1991 in 9.86‚ with Namibian Frankie Fredericks fifth in 9.95.

Simbine‚ Coleman and Britain’s seventh-placed Reece Prescod weren’t even born then.

Simbine said he was happy with the race‚ especially after his poor performance in the heats‚ when he qualified as fastest loser on Friday night.

But he pulled it back spectacularly in the next round on Saturday evening‚ winning his semifinal as he beat Gatlin into second place.

“I’m happy I actually made the final. Yesterday wasn’t such a good day for me‚ I even had a little bit of muscle issues that I had to deal with.

“I placed well in the final so I’m really happy with the race and how it went‚” added Simbine‚ who had a chat with Bolt soon before they stepped out for the final.

“He was telling me I must just start relaxing when I go into races because he’s noticed that I actually tense myself up and I don’t actually enjoy the race.

“If I don’t enjoy the race then I’m losing the whole point of actually running and I’ve been running well the whole year so I must just come here and run and just try and enjoy it as much as I can.”

Simbine‚ who has got to know Bolt better after some training camps in Jamaica in the past two years‚ said the Jamaican legend would be missed.

If Simbine does line up in the 200m‚ he will attempt to make the podium with compatriot Wayde van Niekerk.​