Athletics

Van Niekerk v Simbine v Jobodwana: SA sprinting trio set for blockbuster race

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Wayde van Niekerk
Wayde van Niekerk
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
  • Akani Simbine, Wayde van Niekerk and Anaso Jobodwane will square off in a highly anticipated 200m race in the second leg of the Athletix Invitational Meeting in Roodepoort.
  • The race will also give an indication as to how ready Van Niekerk is for international competition.
  • Simbine has already run 10.00 and 9.99 in strong headwinds last week, making him a favourite for the race. 

All eyes will be on the second heat of the 200m of the Athletix Invitational Meeting at the Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort on Tuesday, where 400m Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk will be up against fellow sprint merchants Anaso Jobodwana and Akani Simbine.

The men's 200m race, set for 16:00, is dubbed as one of the most important races leading up to this year's Tokyo Olympics. It could be seen as an Olympic sprint trial of sorts considering the pedigree of the trio.

While Van Niekerk has always been one of the best over 400m, his 200m times cannot be snarled at.

He has a personal best of 19.84 that he ran in Kingston, Jamaica, nearly four years ago that was a national record before it was broken by Clarence Munyai.

Van Niekerk is the only athlete to run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31 and sub-44 performances at 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m, respectively. His personal best of 19.84 in the 200m and his famous 43.03 in the 400m will be on his mind ahead of his first competitive race of the year.

With his pace merchant compatriots around him, this race will not only give Van Niekerk a thorough examination but how ready he'll be for international competition. 

He still has to defend his Olympic 400m title that he so passionately but professionally won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. 

Jobodwana is a 200m specialist, reaching the final at the 2012 London Olympics and won bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. 

He hasn't raced much in the recent past due to an assortment of injuries, but he will be a formidable adversary.

The same is applicable for Simbine, the current Commonwealth Games champion, who cruised to a 10.00 win in the 100 of the Athletix Meeting last week before dipping to 9.99 in the same event at the Gauteng North championships in Pretoria on Saturday. 

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