The world may be fo­cused on the loom­ing du­els be­tween Ja­maica and the US, but SA may be on the brink of cel­e­brat­ing its first IAAF World Cham­pi­onships sprint medal­list, writes

Daniel Mothowagae

CityPress - - Sport -

South Africa’s chance for more medals looks far more re­al­is­tic than when Jo­han Cronje brought home a 1 500m bronze from the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Rus­sia two years ago.

This has been the best year by far for South African ath­let­ics, and any­thing can still hap­pen at the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions event.

Reach­ing a sub-9.9 time in the 100m might still be a work in progress for the likes of Anaso Jo­bod­wana, Akani Sim­bine and Hen­ri­cho Bru­in­tjies, but they are sure bets to go be­yond the first round at the global show­piece that starts in Bei­jing, China, on Satur­day.

Stand­ing in the trio’s way are Ja­maica’s Usain Bolt and Asafa Pow­ell, along with Amer­ica’s Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, who are among the su­per­men set to line up in the 100m and 200m dash. Bolt is the de­fend­ing cham­pion of the two events.

How­ever, in the form of 400m sen­sa­tion Wayde van Niek­erk, South Africa may be on the brink of ush­er­ing in its first world cham­pi­onships sprint medal­list.

The 23-year-old al­ready paced him­self with the man to beat in Bei­jing – Ki­rani James, the Gre­nada phe­nom­e­non who has been a dom­i­nant force in the one-lap event over the past few years.

This new gen­er­a­tion of sprint­ers is also in good shape to con­tend for a medal in the pop­u­lar 4x100m re­lay.

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