Athletics

Jobodwana: I can be a medal contender

Anaso Jobodwana (Getty Images)
Anaso Jobodwana (Getty Images)

Johannesburg – With the South African 200m record in the bag, sprinting sensation Anaso Jobodwana believes he can win a medal in one of the most competitive events at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August.

The 2012 London Olympics finalist blitzed to a new national record at the Cayman Invitational over the weekend in a time of 20.06 seconds breaking Morne Nagel's old mark of 20.11 seconds he set in Germiston in April 2002.

“My goals are to stay consistent, run sub-20 for the first time and also be a medal contender at world champs, that’s very hard but it’s possible with the right frame of mind and with the team behind me,” Jobodwana said from his base World Athletics Centre in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jobodwana rose from relative obscurity to make it into the Olympic 200m final as a 20-year-old where the Jamaican trio of World Record holder Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir took first, second and third place respectively.

Finishing eighth, Jobodwana was strikingly calm after rubbing shoulders with the world’s fastest men and it was clear the sprinter from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape had a bright future ahead of him.

In 2013 he lived up to expectations when he bagged a rare short sprint double at the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia in the 100m and 200m.

However, the next year proved to be an anti-climax when he missed most of the season including the Commonwealth Games thanks to a hernia operation.

The setback only proved a brief hiatus from his record-breaking pursuit as he continued where he had left off when he posted a time of 19.87 seconds at the at the Texas Relays in the United States in March but the wind reading was 4 metres-per-second.

“I think after the windy run I felt like it was possible to run fast this time of the season, my training has been geared that way as well,” Jobodwana said after dipping below 20 seconds.

While he was delighted with his record-breaking run over the weekend, Jobodwana looked at the achievement in more practical terms.

“It means that I’m putting together a good race plan and that my work in training is being translated onto the track which is the most important thing,” he said.

Jobodwana’s coach Stuart McMillan told the World Athletics Centre’s website that he expected greater achievements from the star athlete.

“He has yet to put anything like a complete race together, and I am looking forward to him running sub-20 seconds once he does,” McMillan said.

“His next race is at the Prefontaine Classic at the Eugene Diamond League meet, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does there.”

At the Eugene Diamond League meeting on May 30 Jobodwana will go up against a top-notch field that includes United States sprinter Justin Gatlin, who clocked a world-leading 9.74 seconds in the 100 metres at the Doha Diamond League meeting on Friday.

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