SA sprint has a strong chance of securing the 200m IAAF title
Sprint sensation Anaso Jobodwana is one race away from clinching the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League 200m title and its mouth-watering $40 000 (R508 000) cash prize.
With nine points from five Diamond races, the 23-year-old South African is on the brink of following in the footsteps of star jumper Khotso Mokoena, who is currently the country’s only Diamond champion.
Mokoena triumphed in the long jump last year.
Although he did not win a single race in his debut Diamond season, Jobodwana has finished in the top three in five of six meetings, and accumulated one point more than his nearest rivals in the process.
And with four runners-up spots in the competition, he has pocketed $28 000 in prize money so far – $6 000 for each time he finished second at the meetings in Eugene (US), Oslo (Norway), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Stockholm (Sweden).
In addition, Jobodwana pocketed $4 000 for his third-place finish at the London (England) race in July.
The youngster from Phakama Township near King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, is ahead of defending champion Alonso Edward of Panama and Zharnel Hughes of the Anguilla Islands by a single point in the 200m race.
To be crowned champion, the South African 200m champ needs a podium finish when the lucrative one-day international track and field meeting series resumes in Zurich, Switzerland, on September 3
One of the rules of the Diamond race is that “athletes must compete in the final at the Zurich or Brussels, Belgium, meetings with a bona fide effort”.
South African 400m record holder Wayde van Niekerk also has a good chance at a Diamond prize.
With eight points from two events, the 23-year-old trails Grenada’s Kirani James by two points on the 400m leaderboard.
The University of the Free State marketing student won the New York and Paris Diamond races among his seven straight victories in the one-lap event this season.
Van Niekerk secured his first Diamond win in France last month by beating reigning Olympic champion James.
The win at Stade de France in Paris in 43.96 seconds set a new South African 400m record – and in the process made Van Niekerk the first African to run the distance in less than 44 seconds.
Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen is currently placed second, trailing Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic by four points in the event.
Jobodwana, Van Niekerk and Viljoen will now shift their focus to this month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, that runs from August 22 to 30.