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Simbine’s coach makes sure new recordholder keeps a cool head

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Akani Simbine is now the sole holder of the South African 100-metre record but coach Werner Prinslo says there’s no time for celebrations.
Instead, it’s straight back to the grindstone.
On Tuesday the Tuks/HPC athlete won the 100m at Athletics South Africa’s Night Series meeting in 9.96 seconds to claim a new national record.
It’s only the second time that a local sprinter has run a sub-10 seconds race in South Africa and the fifth time in total if international races are also taken into account.
Prinsloo also made it clear that it’s too early in the season to start celebrating.
‘Our goal, which is to qualify for the Olympic final in Rio, remains the same, which means that there is still a lot of hard work to be done. That is why I say it is back to the grindstone for Akani,’ Prinsloo said.
Sport is all about rivalries and Saturday, at the Gauteng-North Championships at Pilditch, when Simbine (Tuks/HPC) will face Henricho Bruintjies (Tuks) in the short sprints, may well see the beginning of a rivalry that could grip the imagination of sports fans across the country.  Before Simbine ‘blitzed’ out of his block on Tuesday, the two of them shared the national record of 9.97.
Bruintjies missed most of last year’s local season because of injuries and it will be the first time in nearly a year that they race each other in a local sprint. Judging by Tuesday’s performance Simbine should be the favourite, but rumour has it that Bruintjies is in good form. It’s said that he is much like a ‘time bomb’ just waiting to explode. It should also be remembered that Bruintjies improved his time in the 60m indoor races each time he raced in Europe. He started off with 6.68 and ended with 6.62 in his last race.
Prinsloo, who coaches both of them, is the proverbial man in the middle and is not prepared to stick out his neck and make predictions of who he expects to win.
However, he hinted that Simbine may have a slight edge because the two of them have been working together for quite a few years while he only started coaching Bruintjies three weeks ago.
‘Henricho and I are still in the process of getting used to working together. He still has to learn and understand what I expect from him as a coach, while I will have to find out what works and doesn’t work for Bruintjies.’
There are those who are slightly worried about the fact that Simbine and Bruintjies will be training together. But according to Prinsloo he’s fully aware of the potential pitfalls but he is confident that they can make it work.
‘I made it clear to both of them that when it comes to training, I won’t stand any nonsense. At the moment everything is going smoothly. I think this is because they are both driven individuals who respect each other’s abilities as sprinters.
‘They also know exactly what they want to achieve and they realise that their respective goals will mean they will have to face each other on the track.
‘It is very important that they always heed the principle of what happens on the track stays on the track.’

Picture of Simbine courtesy of Reg Caldecott


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