Akani Simbine motivated by unfinished business at Olympic Games

Akani Simbine motivated by unfinished business at Olympic Games

South Africa’s renowned sprinter Akani Simbine is determined to break his streak of no medals at major international competitions.

Despite being an eight-time national 100m champion, Simbine has consistently reached finals at prestigious events like the World Championships and the Olympics without clinching a medal for over a decade. 

Speaking with SABC Sport, Simbine expressed his unwavering commitment to securing a medal at all costs at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris scheduled for July/August. 

"An Olympic medal? I want to be the fastest man in the world, that's [always been the case] and it hasn't changed. Even this year, it means even more because of the fact that I felt like last year was an unfinished story," said Simbine.

"So getting an Olympic medal, being the fastest man in the world, and just writing history for South Africa [is the end goal]."

Simbine, who holds the national 100m record of 9.84 seconds, has the weight of expectations from South Africans who are anticipating him to lead the team to the podium as a senior in the athletics squad, and the 30-year-old himself acknowledges only a medal can validate his efforts.

"I think the external pressure, for me, doesn't really matter. At the end of the day, I'm the one that's running. South Africa supports, and they will support – even when I false started, I was getting support. If I win, I get support," he added.

"So the fact they say they want a medal, yes, we all want medals – I want a medal. If it doesn't come, it's a bummer, but you move on and build up again.

"And I think this year, going to Olympics, everybody's aiming to be in the final, everyone's aiming to better themselves and everyone's aiming to get a medal.

"If there's pressure coming from South Africa then it's them believing that I actually can do it, but I don't think it's a negative thing; I don't think it's something where we should say, 'If you don't win a medal then you must leave the sport.' No one can tell us to leave the sport."

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