Akani Simbine sounded a warning to the world as he clocked 9.84s to break the African 100m record and leave some of the world’s best sprinters eating his dust on July 6 at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial meet in Hungary.
His time beat the 9.85s mark set by Nigeria’s Olusoji Adetokunbo Fasuba 15 years ago, and also eclipsed the 9.86 meeting record held by Jamaican legend Asafa Powell.
On Tuesday, Simbine finished well ahead of the United States’ Michael Rogers (10s) and another American, Marvin Bracy (10.02s). Former world and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin finished sixth.
The 27-year-old South African took five hundredths of second off his previous personal best on the same track from 2016.
It placed him joint second on the world list this year‚ one-hundredth of a second quicker than Bracy and Ronnie Baker‚ another US sprinter.
But the real value of this performance will be the confidence it will give Simbine before the Tokyo Olympics.
His build-up had been aimed at breaking his national record and getting a fast time in his legs to carry into Japan. That job is done‚ though he is scheduled to run in what could be a dress rehearsal for the Olympic final at the Monaco Diamond League on July 9.
There he will face the fastest man in the world so far in 2021‚ American Trayvon Bromell‚ who went 9.77 a month ago‚ and his two compatriots‚ Baker and Fred Kerley‚ with a 9.86 season’s best.The men’s 400m final in Hungary on Tuesday was set to be a possible preview of the Tokyo 2020 final, but defending Olympic champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk did not take to the start line. World champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas won the race in 44.47s, with the United States’ Bryce Deadmon and Michael Norman second and third. – Agencies