Who is Akani Simbine? Everything about the South African athlete who stunned Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley to win 100m at Shanghai Diamond League

Akani Simbine defeated Fred Kerley and Christian Coleman at Shanghai Diamond League 2024
Akani Simbine defeated Fred Kerley and Christian Coleman at Shanghai Diamond League 2024

Akani Simbine is a track and field athlete from South Africa. He recently made headlines after securing a win against the USA's top sprinters Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley at the Shanghai Diamond League 2024 at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre on Saturday, April 27.

On his way to triumph, he got the better of the reigning World indoor champion in the 60m, Coleman (10.04s), and Olympics silver medalist Kerley (10.11s) in the men's 100m in the second meeting of the Diamond League 2024 series, clocking a time of 10.01 where he equaled his season-best performance.

Diamond League Shanghai/Suzhou posted about Simbine’s victory on their X (formerly Twitter) handle, captioning it as:

“Akani Simbine strikes again. 😤 10.01 for the 100m win!”

Following Simbine’s exceptional performance in Suzhou, he has certainly become one of the athletes to look out for ahead of the Paris Olympics 2024. So, let’s explore more about the 30-year-old South African sprinter who stole the limelight at the Shanghai Diamond League.

Akani Simbine’s family and hometown

Simbine was born on September 21, 1993, in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa. His mother was also an athlete.

When did Akani Simbine begin to take Athletics seriously?

Having initially spent his childhood playing football, cricket, and rugby, he took running seriously at the age of 18 after breaking some records.

Akani Simbine’s top achievements

Simbine is the former African record holder in the men’s 100m. He clocked a time of 9.84 seconds in July 2021 to establish the record later shattered by Kenyan athlete Ferdinand Omanyala in September 2021.

Additionally, he is a five-time African Championships medalist, winning three gold medals in the 100m, two of which were in the 4×100m relay, and a silver and bronze in the 100m events. Besides this, he has won three medals at the Commonwealth Games which includes one gold and two silver.

At the World Athletics Relays, he was instrumental in South Africa’s gold-medal win in the 4x100m relay in Chorzów 2021, and silver-medal performance in the 4x200 m relay in Yokohama 2019.

Akani Simbine’s performance at the Olympics and World Championships

Simbine of Team South Africa looks on during heat 7 of the Men's 100m during day one of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 19, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Simbine of Team South Africa looks on during heat 7 of the Men's 100m during day one of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 19, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

At the Olympic Games, Simbine narrowly missed out on winning medals in both Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016, finishing fourth and fifth respectively with timings of 9.93s and 9.94s.

His performance at the World Athletics Championships includes a fourth-place finish in the 100m in 2019, and two fifth-place finishes in the 100m in 2017 and 2022 editions, again missing out on the podium places by a whisker.

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