Simbine is SA’s Usain Bolt

The fastest man in Africa has now started his venture to conquer the world.

Akani Simbine has proved that he can beat the big names in the world of athletics, claiming the scalp of Asafa Powel at the Diamond League race in Doha on May 5.

He set the second best time in the world of 9.92 seconds, beating a strong field of former world and Olympic champion, Powell, Justin Gatlin and Canada’s Andre De Grasse – who won the bronze medal at the recent Olympics in both the 100m and 200m.

“It’s a question of believing in yourself and having confidence when you go out on the track,” said Simbine, who has now partnered with Mercedes-Benz in South Africa as their ambassador.

The 2017 local season has started with a whirlwind and now South Africa’s short distance powerhouse has another goal that he has set for himself over the 100m and 200m. “I will focus on the international front and have two races that my immediate focus will be on.”

“I’m really excited, as I have had a great start to the season. There are obviously a few things that I need to work on, but it seems my race plan is coming together nicely,” said Simbine. “My team and I have worked hard for this and I cannot wait to head off to Europe.”

Simbine will make an appearance in Berlin before travelling to Gemona on May 21 for a solid block of training, before heading west on June 1 to compete in the Boston Street Race.

“I’m really excited, as I have had a great start to the season. There are obviously a few things that I need to work on, but it seems my race plan is coming together nicely,” said Simbine. “In the past you will just go to the track and compete, but now I have that confidence that ‘That I can beat anyone’. I think I have the edge now over the bigger names, but I will definitely go out there and do my best in Europe.”

His next stop is Kingston, Jamaica, where he will line up in the farewell race of Usain Bolt on June 10. “For me that is a big race. Obviously the main focus is London and the World championship, but this will be a race I wouldn’t want to miss. It will take place at Jamaica national stadium. The final starting line has yet to be announced but it is rumoured the likes of Asafa Powell and Johan Blake will be contenders for this race. It is a strong field so I will need to be at my best.”

Simbine will spend a few days in Jamaica training with Bolt, as he did in 2016, before their race on June 10.

Following this, Simbine will head back to his base in Gemona, Italy, before lining up in Budapest on July 4 at the same meeting that last year saw him defeat Powell for the first time and set the South African Record of 9.89sec, the István Gyulai Memorial.

“Mercedes-Benz is personified by excellence, style, speed and inspiration. This is why we are ecstatic that Akani Simbine, who recently scorched the track in Tshwane when he ran the fastest 100m ever in South Africa, will join the family as a Friend of the Brand,” said Selvin Govender, Marketing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.

“We are very proud to have Simbine as part of our team at Condriac and together with Mercedes, we know that Simbine will bring back proudly to the country not only the world championship medal but also the best times in the world, and we wish him all the best with his journey,” said Keshia Patchiappen, CEO Condriac Agency.

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