Sigh of relief on Jobodwana’s Beijing bronze
Anaso Jobodwana may have held the South African flag the wrong way when he ran around the track after winning a bronze medal in the 200m on Thursday.
But his third-place finish brought ecstasy to Team SA, which had watched nine events go by without a single medal in the first five days of the IAAF World Championships.
From the marathon’s disastrous run on day one, to all three long-jumpers biting the dust in the runway sandpits, it seemed a long time before Jobodwana followed 400m gold-medal winner Wayde van Niekerk’s first gong on Wednesday.
Jobodwana’s disqualification in the 100m last Saturday put the team’s management on the spot for not withdrawing him to focus on the 200m dash. His false start turned out to be deliberate in the end.
There was more anxiety to come. Khotso Mokoena failed to go beyond the first round of the long jump on Monday. For five days, the small group of South Africans had trekked to the Bird’s Nest stadium and returned to their hotel with the national flag still folded.
Then Van Niekerk and Jobodwana stepped in. Sounds of Shosholoza could be heard from the stands and the national anthem was sung twice in 24 hours.
It was the best way to ease the pain of Caster Semenya finishing last in the 800m semifinals.