Your personal best was 10.17 s last year, and this year you achieved a 10.06 s time. Did you have any expectation of running a sub-ten time during the international season?
I had been battling with some injuries in the beginning of the season, so I didn’t have any expectation of running a sub-ten at all. I expected, maybe, a 10.10 s time or somewhere around there, but my goal was just to run fast and give my personal best, so running a sub-ten was just a blessing from God.
What are your hopes for the World Championships in Beijing?
My goal is just to go there and perform my best, or close to my best, and hopefully to make the final.
How do you feel about and plan to approach running against Usain Bolt at the World Championships for the first time?
Usain Bolt is not the only top name that I might be running against. I think my focus is not going to be on anyone other than myself, so I am just going to go there and try to execute a proper race and do my best.
There are some impressive names that will make up the 4×100 m relay team in Beijing, such as yourself and Akani Simbine. What are your expectations for the relay?
With enough training as a relay team, we are capable of doing great things at the World Championships. I hope we get some quality training in, because we have a really good relay squad, so if the guys can put their focus on the relay I think we could hopefully end up on the podium.
How are you coping with your sudden fame and popularity?
I think that if you are easily influenced by attention from the outside, like the media coverage, it could become a problem to stay humble. The thing to remember is that you never know how long you will be given to stay on top, so when you are in that place you should stay humble, because that way when you find yourself at a low point again, you remain the same person. I feel like I am a normal, humble guy and that is how I am going to stay, I don’t want to change.
In an interview with Perdeby earlier this year you explained that your focus has always been on making sure that you “run a perfect race”, and that your body would run that race under ten seconds when it was ready. How did it feel to cross the finish line and see that you had finally been rewarded for your focus and hard work?
It is difficult to describe in a few words, but it felt completely surreal. It was like I had been waiting for this moment, and suddenly it was there. I was so chuffed with my body, but it felt super painful at the same time.
Did you think that your body was ready to run the sub-ten in this year’s international season?
Yes. I knew my body was ready to run a 9 [second time], but I just needed the right race with the right conditions to allow that to happen.
Your coach, Werner Prinsloo, has been on this journey with you since it began in high school. What was his reaction when he realised you had run a sub-ten?
He was shocked. He never believed me for a second, and when I told him that this was real and that I was being serious he was completely overjoyed.
Do you feel that you have the potential to be one of the world’s best sprinters now that you have seen your body reach new heights?
Yes. I believe that I can be one of the best, if not the best. It will take waiting for the right time, pushing myself past any limits and making sure I get the job done.
What are your hopes for the World Championship in Beijing now that you are running the best times you have ever run?
My focus is staying the same. I still hope to get into the final for the 100 m race.