Fast tracks: tech­no­log­i­cal aid to speed

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

in Bei­jing

– Daniel Mothowagae

The run­ning track at the IAAF Cham­pi­onships uses the sest science and en­gi­neer­ingg to en­sure ath­letes keep sreak­ing records Con­struc­tion: Track-foot in­ter­ac­tion: Source: mon0o­

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