Sun, 07 Jun 2020

South African sprinter Akani Simbine has expressed mixed feelings over the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed on Tuesday that the 2020 Games have been postponed to a date beyond 2020 "but no later than summer 2021".

Simbine, who is the national 100m record holder, said that despite it being a relief, he could not hide his disappointment.

"My feelings over the Games being postponed are on both sides of the fence," admitted Simbine.

"I'm happy they're postponed, because this year has been turbulent. You can't really get in the right training with all these disturbances over the coronavirus, but I'm also pretty sad about it, it was the year we were all building up to... now we have to wait another year, which wasn't part of our plans."

Simbine won gold in the 100m at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is still hoping to claim his first Olympic medal.

The 26-year-old is expected to compete in three events at the Tokyo Olympics: the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay.

READ | Athletics SA welcomes postponement of 2020 Olympics

South Africans face a 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday, 26 March until Thursday, 16 April.

Simbine revealed that not only has his training schedule been pushed back with the lockdown, it's also made it tricky to get a proper workout.

"Everything is just pushed back longer now because we are uncertain about when we're going to travel and race," he said.

"There's a lot of uncertainty... with this lockdown coming into effect we cannot train as effectively as possible. I've had to set up a gym at home and my running sessions are going to have to change."

Simbine called on all South Africans to be safe during the nationwide lockdown.

"To all my fellow South Africans, stay healthy, stay at home and wash your hands," he added.

"Keep your spirits high as this too shall pass. We will be okay and get to the other side of the fence. Much love and blessings and prayers to you and your family."

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