Simbine questions Athletics SA system ahead of Paris Olympics

South African 100m sprinter Akani Simbine has questioned the Athletics South Africa system, suggesting that it is no longer the same as they gear up for the all-important 2024 Paris Olympics in July.

The 30-year-old track and field speedster is currently taking part in the final of the SA athletics championships at the Msunduzi Athletics Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

In an interview with the media recently, Simbine admitted that South Africa has what it takes to do well at the global stage but said the mindset of many athletes is not where it is supposed to be.

Standard has dropped

Reminiscing about his varsity athletic days, Simbine said that the standard set by Athletics South Africa has dropped and is no longer the same.

“We’ve got the talent, it’s just the mindset of it. I think the guys are there, the athletes are there, but the mindset of the athletes and the system doesn’t help,” Simbine said.

“The system doesn’t help the athletes more because, if you look at how we were, the system that we were running in when we were still in the university is different from what it is now.”

Having already done the bare minimum for track racing by participating in two Olympics and six world championships, Simbine said the fact that he has not retired and won a gold medal at the Olympics is what keeps him going.

Hunger is still there

He said: “The fact that I’m not done, for me, is what keeps me going. I’ve done so much in this sport, and I could retire, but for me, it’s not done.

“I still have hunger for the sport; I still have hunger to train, to go out there and be the fastest man in the world.

“The goal is to be the fastest man in the world, literally. And just prove to myself that what we’ve been dreaming of, working towards, and knocking on the door for is not just a dream but something that is achievable.

“And I always say that when I lose that hunger, then I leave. When I feel like I don’t have that motivation, that drive to run or to go to training, then I’ll stop.

“But I think for me personally, I just have a lot of goals that I still must achieve before I leave the sport. And I just want to keep doing this thing. I’m doing something that I love.”

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