SA sprint has a strong chance of se­cur­ing the 200m IAAF ti­tle

Sen­sa­tion

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za (see box).

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.

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