Jobodwana gears up for the first round of the 200?m today

2013-08-16 00:00

AFTER what can best be described as a day of learning at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow yesterday, the hopes are high for a Fantastic Friday for South Africa.

Yesterday commenced with Ozario Cremona placing 15th in the shot put qualification with a 19,42 second round throw that fell well short of his 20,55 personal best set only last month in Italy.

Then experienced javelin thrower Rob Oosthuizen, who continues to struggle to find the form that catapulted him into the final and placed him sixth in his debut World Championships in Osaka 2007, failed to progress.

But link the name Anaso Jobodwana with a 200 m and South Africans can look forward to this morning at 8.35 am.

Jobodwana was disappointed with his 100 m outing, where he failed to improve on his best and exited at the semi-finals.

In truth his potential was always in the half lapper, where he was a finalist in the London Olympics.

“My focus is on improving my time, and I believe I can do that,” said the U.S.-based student “If I improve my time, the records will come.”

Since the turn of the millennium, a time of 20,29 has secured a spot in the final. A number of top names, including Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, are missing, leaving most behind Usain Bolt on an even status.

“I’ve thought about that. There is a chance that I can get close to the podium. It will be up to that person who wants the most on the day,” said Jobodwana, who knows that the first step is to get through the morning’s first round and then the semis this evening at 5.40 pm (SA time).

Sunette Viljoen also opens her defence of the Daegu bronze medal at 8.55 am (SA time). Even though her season’s best is a relatively modest 63,49 m, it should still see her comfortably over the automatic qualification mark set at 61,50 m.

If she hits form, then the sky’s the limit in Sunday’s final.

Three more team members return for finals this evening.

Elroy Gelant has his work cut out for him in the 5 000 m final (6.45 pm SA time) where all eyes will be on the Brit Mo Farah, who goes for the double-double of Gold in both the 5 000 m and 10 000 m in the Olympics and the World Championships.

A top five position would be an outstanding result for Gelant.

Johan Cronje is in the first of a two-heat 1 500 m semi-final at 5.05 pm (SA time).

He is again drawn against Silas Kip­lagat, but will also have to contain the likes of Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebrehmedhin and Asbel Kiprop. If it commences slowly, expect Cronje to get out there and inject a bit of pace.

With Olympic, World and World Indoor medals to his name, Khotso Mokoena has the credentials to put South Africa on the medal table, and given his controlled progression of distance and confident carriage through the qualifying round, don’t bet against his repeating the feat in the final (5.30 pm).

Field events are never over until they are over, with many a medal captured out of the blue with one solitary effort, and similarly many a contender has failed to make the grade with a poor run-up. The more explosive, more confident Mokoena could well be the medal man again.

If all South Africans are firing, it will truly be a fantastic Friday.

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