How brotherly advice from Usain Bolt helped Akani Simbine

24 April 2018 - 16:42 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
South Africa's Akani Simbine kisses his gold medal during the athletics men's 100m final medal ceremony during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 10, 2018.
South Africa's Akani Simbine kisses his gold medal during the athletics men's 100m final medal ceremony during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 10, 2018.
Image: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Reigning Commonwealth Games 100m champion Akani Simbine has revealed that brotherly advice from retired and undisputed sprint king Usain Bolt earlier this year helped boost his confidence.

Simbine qualified for the finals of major events for a number of years but failed to make the podium until he recently stunned Jamaican star Yohan Blake to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro‚ Simbine finished fifth behind Bolt‚ Justin Gatlin (USA)‚ Andre de Grasse (Canada) and Blake with all of them running impressive times of under nine seconds.

The following year there was to be another heartbreak for Simbine at the World Championships in London as he once again finished fifth behind Gatlin‚ Christian Coleman (USA)‚ Bolt and Blake.

But he never gave up.

“The last time I spoke to him (Bolt) was this year in Monaco" he said.

"He told me to keep my head up and believe in what I am doing because I am on the right track.

"I have a different mentality now and I believe in myself 100%.

"I am at a point where I go into competitions with no doubt in my mind that I can win races.

“I have been close to podium finishes in major championships for the last few years and to finally get a gold medal felt great.

"It also serves as huge motivation.

"I just want to get back to training and do more so that I stay on top of my game and be as fit as I can possibly be.”

Like most of the other high profile South African athletes like Caster Semenya‚ Luvo Manyonga‚ Ruswahl Samaai‚ Sunnete Viljoen‚ Henricho Bruintjies and Anaso Jobodwana‚ there is no time to relax with the IAAF Diamond League starting in two weeks in Doha.

“My races for the year are 90% finalised and I am looking forward to the rest of the Diamond League‚" Simbine said.

"I just have to go back and work‚ sort out my sessions and make sure that I stay healthy‚ keep my head in a good space and do things right.

"Winning won’t just come easy‚ I have just won a gold medal but there is still a long way to go in my career with things to fight for.

"It is a packed season and the focus is to make sure that I train well so that I am ready to go back on the track and do well‚” he said.


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