Homecoming for Jobodwana

2015-03-01 15:00

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South African Olympic sprinter Anaso Jobodwana may finally compete in the SA Senior Track and Field Championships after spending the past couple of years on the US college athletics circuit.

Jobodwana’s ambitions were rekindled after he watched Simon Magakwe become the first South African man to dip below the 10-second time (at 9.98 seconds) in the 100m at last year’s SA Athletics Championships.

Even better, Jobodwana said, his graduation from college athletics will open the door for him to race in the lucrative IAAF Diamond League.

Speaking to City Press from Phoenix, Arizona, where he is based at the World Athletics Center, Jobodwana (22) said: “I’m planning to run at this year’s nationals. It will be exciting to be back [racing at home] after five years.”

This year’s championships will take place in Stellenbosch outside Cape Town from April 17-18.

The 2012 London Olympics 200m semifinalist last raced on these shores as a junior at the 2010 national championships.

He was unable to race here thereafter because of a clash in the timing of the South African and the US collegiate championships.

Jobodwana was on a scholarship, first at Jackson State University in Mississippi, and then at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

His new base in Arizona is home to many of the world’s elite track and field stars, including American Aries Merritt, the reigning 110m hurdles Olympic champion who achieved a world record at the event.

Said Jobodwana: “[The centre] is a place with true passion for track and field. They make sure the athletes are well taken care of and are knowledgeable in their fields. The therapy is awesome. It’s just a well-rounded environment to be in.”

The man from King William’s Town returned to action only this year after he was sidelined by a hip injury last season.

He underwent a hernia operation in May last year and the setback prevented him from competing in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and the African Championships in Athletics, which was held in Marrakech in Morocco.

“I’m feeling good and happy to be back running. It was tough, I went through a rough time after that. But I knew it was part of track and field and I had to look at the bigger picture. My plans are to get back to running the times I was at before I got injured and take it from there.”

So far, Jobodwana has competed in a few indoor 60m races where he lowered his personal record from 6.66 seconds to 6.60 seconds.

This improvement in his acceleration bodes well for Jobodwana’s ambitions to run a sub-20 seconds in his specialist 200m event after he came close to that time in 2013.

At the South African champs, Jobodwana will go head-to-head with the likes of Magakwe, Akani Simbine, Emile Erasmus and Henrico Bruintjies, who will all be eyeing berths in Team SA’s squad for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, from August 22-30.

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