Akani Simbine likes sprinkling gold dust over the rainbow. Draped in his national flag in a growing number of international stadiums, one of the bright stars of African Athletics became, at 24, a member of the Richard Mille family.
He wasn’t the first short-distance sprinter to do so. At the London Diamond League 100 meters in 2019, Akani flew past former world champion Yohan Blake, another member of the family, notching up 9.93. “I was really happy with the time. I went there to make sure I got the win. I needed it above all to boost my confidence, and came away with a season’s best.”
“I am honored to be a part of the Richard Mille family. Richard Mille strives to be the best and I strive to be the best at what I do and that is to run extremely fast! I run against time and being associated with the best in time works hand in hand. Time is precious and Richard has seen the value of it. Richard is an inspiration and great example of how hard work and always aiming to be the best can give you what you want to achieve or even more than that!”
Through commitment and dedication, the young athlete from Johannesburg slowly crept up on his rivals – at world-breaking speed. Yohan had already glimpsed Akani over his shoulder in the Rio Olympics, the South African just one hundredth of a second hard on his heels, the two finishing 4th and 5th. Akani spent 2018 climbing up international podiums. After bronze in the Madrid Athletics, (his first 100 meters under 10 seconds - at 9s 98) he obtained silver at the Golden Spike in Ostrava in the Czech Republic before finally getting the gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast. Akani’s success is not only the result of strenuous day to day training. It owes a lot to coaching from one particular friend, someone who knows more than most about the specific physical and mental challenges required for the 100 meters, legendary Usain Bolt.