Prestigious track and field league has reached its halfway mark, so it’s a good time for to take stock
Daniel Mothowagae Diamonb League prize money
Sprinter Anaso Jobodwana and javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen have collected valuable points in the Diamond League, making South Africa’s presence felt. Jobodwana (22) and Viljoen (31) have each amassed four points, placing themselves within reach of the top spot in their respective disciplines – and a shot at the massive prize money on offer in the 14-meeting series.
The pair has made $12 000 each (R147 204) for finishing second on two occasions in their individual events.
Jobodwana is tied on four points with America’s Justin Gatlin, Panama’s Alonso Edward and France’s Christophe Lemaitre on the 200m leaderboard.
The sprinter from Phakamisa, Eastern Cape, finished as runner-up to Gatlin at the Prefontaine Classic in the US on May 30, clocking a new national record of 20.04.
Jobodwana also came second to Lemaitre in 20.39 at the Oslo, Norway, Diamond meet a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile, Viljoen is also holding four points – with Marharyta Dorozhon of Israel, Lü Huihui of China and Christina Obergföll of Germany.
Viljoen also gathered her points courtesy of two runner-up spots – first with a 63.60m heave at the Shanghai, China, event on May 17 and then with the 64.36m in Oslo two weeks ago. She is currently ranked fourth. Hurdler LJ van Zyl’s (29) season best of 48.78 for a second place in New York last Saturday earned him two points, six adrift of leader Johnny Dutch of the US in the 400m hurdles competition.
South African multiple record holder Stephen Mokoka has a single point in the 5 000m, four points behind leader Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia.
Mokoka earned his stripes with a time of 13:20.22 for a third place at a meet a fortnight ago.
Defending long jump champion Khotso Mokoena (30) is yet to register a point in three competitions.
He finished fifth on appearances in Oslo (7.90m), Birmingham (8.11m) and Shanghai (8.10m).
“It is still a bit early and more events are coming up.
“It’s quite good seeing South Africans doing well and keeping the South African track and field alive,” said Mokoena.
Mokoena, who was born in Heidelberg, will return to action in the long jump in Paris, France, when the Diamond series resumes on July 4 at the Stade de France.
“The next few meetings will be the triple jump. I needed time before I do the triple jump again,” Mokoena noted.