Akani Simbane, 100m athletics speedster and young star just recently made history at the Rio Olympics when he ran an absolutely phenomenal race alongside athletic legend and giant Usain Bolt. At this his debut Olympics, Akani finished brilliant and strong at a 5th position with 9.94 in a very exciting and momentous race. A race that has not seen a South African in 84 years since Danie Jourbert in 1932!
This young man is on everybody’s tongue, with our nation’s hopes fully upon him for more stellar performances in the future. Exciting times indeed to be part our nation’s sporting history. Akani is quiet, confident, and depends much on his mental strength and faith for his victories. When I asked him at what point a hero becomes a competitor (Usain Bold) he said “I was initially star struck but now I just see him as a fellow athlete. He is humble and a great guy, we speak often.”
About himself he says “I am cool, calm and collected. I would describe myself as an introvert but am open to venturing out of my comfort zone to experience more thrill seeking adventures, like bungee jumping or skydiving”.
All photo Credits below go to Panasonic South Africa
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Akani Simbine|
|Date of birth||21 September 1993|
|Place of birth||Johannesburg|
|Current City||Johannesburg & Pretoria|
|Coach’s Name||Werner Prinsloo|
|Out of Country events/ meets (most recent)||Istvan Gyula Memorial Meeting in Budapest|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||Hip-Hop|
|Favorite Movie||The Italian Job|
|Tertiary Inst Name||University of Pretoria|
|Tertiary degree||Information Science|
|Sponsors||Adidas; PVM; Panasonic South Africa;|
Q: BEFORE RIO OLYMICS:
You have realized a life long dream to qualify for the Rio Olympics early in your lifetime. Congrats and well done. What is on your heart and mind right now concerning this qualification?
Thank you, the only thing on my heart is being focused and training exceptional well. I just want to eat good and be in a good mental place as well. Once I have established and perfected these everything else will fall into place.
Q: AFTER RIO OLYMICS:
You did brilliant at Rio Olympics – your thoughts?
Rio was amazing. Being able to live out my goals and dreams was such a huge blessing. I got to be in the Olympic 100m final and that was really something special. Placing 5th in the final was so motivating for me as I start looking towards the future.
Q: What did it feel like on the night that you became a history maker by doing a Sub-10 second race in the 100m sprint?
I was shocked initially and so I had trained hard but it exceeded my goals for the race and I was very happy about that.
Q: Why do you have so much respect for your coach?
My coach Werner Prinsloo and I just connect in that we are very similar in a lot of ways, which means I relate to him more closely. This makes our interaction so special. I have great respect and admiration for him as he is a huge contributing factor to me making it thus far.
Q: At one point does an athlete’s hero’s become their competitors in mind and in body, and is this transition easy?
I recall a recent experience of meeting, training and competing with Usain. It was an experience that I will definitely be on my top ten highlights for the year. It was very different to the first time I had encountered him on the track in the Commonwealth Relay (2014). I was initially star struck but now I just see him as a fellow athlete. He is humble and a great guy, we speak often.
Q: You have put one of our dorpies / townships called Tembisa on the world map ☺ – how was the reaction / reception of your hometown after all your stellar performances?
Everyone was happy and proud of me and they stay supporting me.
Q: Who are you?
I am cool, calm and collected. I would describe myself as an introvert but am open to venturing out of my comfort zone to experience more thrill seeking adventures, like bungee jumping or skydiving. When I’m not training or at varsity I’m usually stuck behind a screen; playing video games or watching series and movies.
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?
I owe all my accomplishments thus far to God, He blessed me with me doing my best and striving for greatness. I am utilizing this gift to motivate others. I would not be where I am without prayer and the Lord’s favour.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway. -Earl Nightingale
Q: Are you going to get an Olympic Tattoo?
Q: Beside athletics, what else do you have a passion for?
Series, movies and sleep!
Q: What’s your WHY ? What Legacy do you want to leave for our youth?
Also, looking into the future, what type of influence do you see yourself having on our nation’s and continent’s youth?
I would like to leave a legacy of attaining dreams that they may not even think possible. I would like to give back especially to impoverished communities, to give youngsters an opportunity to choose sports as an alternative to alleviating poverty.
Q: Favourite meal and who must cook it?
Anything prepared by my mother
Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the very best for Rio Olympics 2016! Blessings!