Fasten your seatbelts‚ Simbine planning to light up the track in 2017

Akani Simbine is predicting big things this year — a massive 100m final at the SA championships and then a scorching time later in the season.

He ran his fastest time on home soil at the Gauteng North championships in Pretoria on Saturday‚ an impressive 9.92sec that still left him disappointed after a poor start.

Simbine‚ an Olympic 100m finalist last year and the 9.89 SA record-holder‚ had to work hard to overhaul Thando Roto who ended second in 9.95‚ the first time two SA sprinters had broken 10 seconds in the same race.

But if that’s what Simbine does on a bad day‚ imagine what he will do when he hits his peak later in the season‚ hopefully at the world championships in London in August.

“I honestly feel like there’s something big coming‚” said Simbine‚ who has now dipped under 10 seconds on nine occasions‚ six of them in his last eight outings.

“Last year I started off with that 9.96 [an SA record at the time] and everybody was like‚ ‘are you sure you’re not peaking too early?’. I maintained everything and I ended up getting a faster time and I made the Olympic final.

“For me I don’t think of me running fast now as peaking too early.

“We haven’t done most of the training that we need to do. We haven’t got into our 150m‚ 250m sessions and I feel those are the sessions that make me run faster.”

Simbine will compete again at the national championships in Potchefstroom next month‚ when he is looking to reclaim the crown he lost after suffering a hamstring injury in the final last year.

“It’s going to be really huge‚” he forecast. “A couple of records are going to fall. I feel that history is going to be made there.

“More than two guys are going to go sub-10 in that race and it will be one of the best 100m races in the world‚ not just South Africa.”

Simbine spoke about fixing his mistakes after Saturday’s run‚ but he was also able to find the positives‚ like staying calm under pressure.

“I saw him [Roto] ahead and I just said to myself okay ‘just try control yourself and don’t tense up’ because [otherwise] he was going to open up the gap because I wasn’t going to be able to move fluidly.”

Not tensing up was a skill he had had to learn.

“It’s maturity and experience running all the races that I’ve run — in the Olympic final‚ running through Diamond Leagues with top guys — that I’ve learnt to control my emotions.”

That race was one of the highlights of the meet at the Tuks athletics stadium.

Olympic silver medallist Luvo Manyonga went 8.62m to break Khotso Mokoena’s African record‚ Soks Zazini went 48.84 in the 400m hurdles to set the world under-18 best time and Gift Leotlela broke Simbine’s under-20 SA mark with a 10.12.

Friedrich Pretorius became only the second SA athlete after Willem Coertzen to top 8000 points in the decathlon. - TMG Digital