Fast tracks: technological aid to speed
Wayde van Niekerk and Anaso Jobodwana running as fast at the Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games as they did at the IAAF World Championships may depend on what surface will be laid at the yet-to-be constructed athletics track at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Track surfaces have become the biggest technological aid to speed these days.
The surface type at the Bird’s Nest Stadium is called the Mondotrack ( see graphic).
Most of the athletes who competed at the global championships in China, including medallists Van Niekerk and Jobodwana, as well as jumper Khotso Mokoena, have all described the track as fast. What makes it faster? Andrea Vallauri, the international relations manager for Mondo Sport&Flooring, said: “The track is very thin, about 14mm, and has two layers. The top layer is made to resist the spike action and is not slippery.”
He continued: “The layer underneath looks like a honeycomb. We studied this cellular design with biomechanics institutes. This feature allows the material to absorb the pressure of the foot and bounce back like a trampoline. The studies reveal that it really gives an athlete a big push. The track is laid in the same direction and all the athletes get the same advantage.”
Vallauri said he was hopeful the Italybased track and sports equipment manufacturing company would supply the 2022 Games.
“We did Glasgow [Scotland’s Games last year], and we are going to supply Australia [Gold Coast] in 2018 and, hopefully, the 2022 Games.”
Van Niekerk clocked a new national and African record time of 43.48 seconds in the 400m final on Wednesday, a few hours before Jobodwana lowered his 200m best time to 19.87 seconds for a bronze medal in the 200m final that was won by Usain Bolt in a world-leading time of 19.55 seconds.
Also, 400m hurdles finalist Wenda Nel set her career best time of 54.37 seconds at the same Beijing venue in an IAAF World Challenge meeting in May, a month after the track was laid in April.
“The colour of the track does not have anything to do with performance. Blue makes for a fashion statement and China chose red because it is their colour for good luck,” said Vallauri in a one-on-one interview with City Press.
He said it took a month to lay a track and the Beijing surface cost an estimated $500 000 (about R6.65 million).
But it is not all about the track, as most of Team SA’s athletes did not attain their personal best times.
– Daniel Mothowagae
The running track at the IAAF Championships uses the sest science and engineeringg to ensure athletes keep sreaking records