South African sprinter Akani Simbine has gotten the chance to make his mark in the 23rd sub-ten second time over 100 metres at the 58th Golden Spike, an IAAF World Challenge meeting, in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Thursday.
Although, judging by his results over the short sprint so far this season, it could be a mere formality.
The first time the Tuks-based athlete raced over 100 metres this season was at the Diamond League Meeting in Shanghai where he clocked a time of 9.95s.
Although it was not an officially recognised IAAF race, Simbine was even faster over the past weekend, winning the 100m during the Adidas Boost Boston Games in 9.92s.
Simbine’s coach Werner Prinsloo said the primary goal for the sprinter in his next three races was to run a time faster than his South African record of 9.89s.
Over the past three years, Simbine has proved to be one of the most consistent international sprinters with his season’s best time varying between 9.89s and 9.93s.
“The real tester for us is going to be the London Anniversary Games (20 July),” said Prinsloo.
“The plan is for him to be at his best. During last year’s meeting, Akani ran a season’s best time of 9.93s.
“After this, I will taper his training a bit before we start the final build-up to the World Championships.”
The other sprinters to watch on Thursday are Michael Rodgers (USA: season’s best 10.00s) and Zhenye Xie (China: season’s best 10.02s).
The South Africans who will be competing in the 100 metres are Thando Roto (Tuks), Henricho Bruintjies, Simon Magakwe and Thando Dlodlo.
Clarence Munyai is listed to race the 100m and the 200m, but will in all probability only compete in the longer sprint.
According to an IAAF release, Christian Coleman’s eagerly anticipated season’s debut over 200m will be among the key highlights.
Coleman, who has clocked world leads of 9.86s and 9.85s in the 100m already this season, has indicated that he’s aiming to tackle both short sprints at the World Championships.
Thursday’s race will provide an early test for his double ambitions. The 23-year old Coleman has a 19.85s personal best, but hasn’t raced over the distance in almost two years.
Tapelo Phora (400m) and Tuks athlete Orazio Cremona (shot put) are the other South Africans who will be competing in Ostrava.