Akani Simbine to return to Diamond League in Monaco

South African sprinter Akani Simbine will return to Diamond League competition for the first time since the Shanghai meeting in May.

The sprinter will take to the track against an all-star field at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Simbine began his international season with a third-placed finish in Shanghai behind Americans Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman.

Lyles will be in the field once again but Coleman is absent. There will still be a strong US presence with World Champion Justin Gatlin to run in what will be his second Diamond League meeting this season. Michael Rodgers is the third American in the field and will be eager to improve on a poor season so far. Rodgers faces competition for his place on the US team from Cravon Gillespie who has dipped under 10 seconds already this season.

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100m men, Justin Gatlin of United States looks on during the Diamond League athletics meeting Athletissima at Stade olympique de la Pontaise on July 5, 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)

Simbine is not the only African that will set himself in the blocks on Friday night, he is joined by the Ivory Coast’s Arthur Cisse and Nigerian sprinter Divine Oduduru. Simbine lines up in a field where five of the runners sport better personal bests. Americans Gatlin, Lyles and Gillespie have all run faster 100 metre sprints than Simbine this season as has Oduduru albeit in collegiate competition.

French speedster Jimmy Vicaut completes the field.

ASA back Simbine

The ASA president has thrown all his support behind Simbine who hopes to be a medal contender at the World Championships in Doha later this season.

“Simbine has all what other guys have in the field. He has to stick his neck out and show that he is equal to the other athletes,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.

“We know that his coach has done phenomenal work and their strategy and tactics are bearing fruits.

“It is going to be a great test at what level his preparation for the IAAF World Championships is right now.”

The men’s 100m race is scheduled to start at 21:35 SAST on Friday 12 July.

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