World University Games 100m champion Akani Simbine is the world’s fastest student, but can the South African pass the SPIKES student lifestyle midterms?


Akani Simbine Vegetables ()

Think students and diet and images of empty fast-food boxes, crisps and chocolate wrappers spring to mind (or was that just us?). Research out of the UK recently revealed the average student can pile on anywhere between 1-5 stone (6-30kgs) while at university.

South African sprinter Akani Simbine is in his fourth and final year at The University of Pretoria, where he studies information science. The 22-year-old admits to having a relaxed approach to his diet, although he’s improved on earlier bad habits.

“I used to be a pro at making two-minute noodles,” he says. “I could make a whole proper meal just out of two-minute noodles – that’s how good I was!”

However since he began receiving support from the university's High Performance Centre, Simbine has been ushered towards a more sensible nutritional regime.

“Today I eat a lot of fruit and veges,” Simbine says. “My plate is full of veges, with a little bit starch and a medium amount of meat. But veges are the most important.”

Score: 7/100

Marker’s note: Despite showing early promise this diet is far too healthy for a student. Must try harder.


Akani Simbine Sleep ()

Whether it’s those erratic teenage hormones or just the effects of the night before’s moonshine, students have a reputation for enjoying a kip. Late nights followed by even later mornings in bed are the norm (we remember those days fondly).

Simbine concedes that he is fond of a bit of shuteye. He says it’s not unusual to wake up early, complete his gym work out and head straight home for a nap. After lunch he might catch another 40 winks and wake up in time for his 4pm training session.

“I can sleep up to four hours during the day and if I get to bed I can sleep eight hours at night,” says Simbine. “My excuse is I need it to recover.”

Score: 84/100

Marker’s note: Double shifts demonstrate excellent application. First class.


Akani Simbine Drink ()

Students are known to enjoy a tipple (or 12). Research conducted by Slimming World found more than 50 per cent drink alcohol at least three times a week. Three per cent, the study found, are on the pop every night of the week.

So how many Castle lagers does the 100m man sink each night? Errr, none, actually. Turns out Simbine isn’t too keen on the amber nectar.

“I stay away from alcohol,” says Simbine, who is currently ranked fastest in the world in the 100m thanks to a 9.96 PB in March. “They say it dehydrates the body and takes a long time to recover [not for this guy].

“I don’t want to feel the bad the next day if I have a training session. I don’t like the after-effects and alcohol doesn’t taste nice.”

Score: 0/100

Marker’s note: Shows no willingness to tackle subject. Disappointing.


He may be the world’s fastest student, which is handy if he is ever running late for a lecture, but Mr Simbine’s lifestyle suggests he is far from the stereotypical student.

Although he has shown great commitment to his sleeping timetable, by choosing vegetables over alcohol it is hard to see Simbine following the same route as most graduates.

Should consider a future in sports.