While much of the focus during last year’s Beijing athletics world championships was around Wayde van Niekerk’s 400m victory, another sprinter made history in the 200m.
Anaso Jobodwana was an unlikely figure in the 200m final after injury saw him miss the entire 2014 season. Before that, he had shocked the athletics scene by making it all the way to the 2012 London Olympic final, where he was up against Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt.
Anaso Jobodwana was an unlikely figure in the 200m final at last year’s world championship in Beijing after injury saw him miss the entire 2014 season.Photo: FRANCK ROBICHON. Credit: EPA
The then-20-year-old Jobodwana ended eighth as Bolt stormed to victory, but the young South African continued his rise by reaching the final at the world championships in Moscow the following year and finishing sixth in a new personal best of 20.13.
Fast-forward to Beijing in August last year, and the man from King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape made his breakthrough into the top division of 200m runners by winning bronze in an electric time of 19.87, a new South African record.
Jobodwana trailed the mighty Bolt (19.55) and American star Justin Gatlin (19.74), and the athletics world was at his feet. But a troublesome injury that causes inflammation in his pelvis has prevented Jobodwana from taking part in races in 2016, even though he has worked hard on the track.
His absence jeopardised a place in Team South Africa for the Rio Olympics, as the likes of Van Niekerk, Akani Simbine, Clarence Munyai and Gift Leotlela all ran qualifying times in the 200m.