Akani Simbine’s career is laced with gold. The sight of him finishing races wrapped in his country’s flag is becoming ever more common. This South African athlete joined the Richard Mille family at the age of 24 and has continued to prove himself ever since.
He isn’t the first sprinter to join this exclusive family. At the 2019 Diamond League in London, Akani sailed past former world champion Yohan Blake, who is also a partner of the watch brand, recording a time of 9.93s. “I was very happy with my time. I went there with victory in mind. I really needed that confidence boost and I ended up running my season’s best time.”
“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 his commitment and devotion, the Johannesburg-born athlete has taken the lead over his rivals at an unprecedented pace. Akani was already hot on Johan’s heels at the Rio Olympics, with the two sprinters finishing in fifth and fourth place respectively, with just one hundredth of a second between them. Then, in 2018, Akani starting winning medals at international meetings. After gaining bronze at the Meeting de Atletismo Madrid (his first sub-10 second 100 m, at 9.98s), he won silver at the Golden Spike Ostrava, Czech Republic, before finally claiming gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. Though beaten several months later, Akani also managed to make South African athletics history by breaking the African 100 m record in 2021. His success is a result of more than just intensive daily training. He also owes a great deal to the advice of a special friend and a true legend, someone who knows the mental and physical challenges of the 100 m better than anyone: Usain Bolt.