Viljoen, Van Niek­erk and Jo­bod­wana miss out on a com­bined R1.6m in Zurich

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za

World Cham­pi­onships medal­lists Wayde van Niek­erk, Anaso Jo­bod­wana and Sunette Viljoen kissed good­bye a com­bined $120 000 (R1.6 mil­lion) in po­ten­tial earn­ings at the Zurich, Switzer­land, Diamond League meet­ing this week.

The trio needed to win their re­main­ing Diamond events for each of them to claim the $40 000 over­all cash prize in their re­spec­tive events in the lu­cra­tive In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) com­pe­ti­tion.

In­stead, newly crowned 400m world cham­pion Van Niek­erk and Bei­jing 200m bronze medal­list Jo­bod­wana came third in their re­spec­tive events on Thurs­day and set­tled for the $4 000 third-fin­ish cash prize.

Viljoen, who also won bronze in China last week, fin­ished a dis­tant 10th in the javelin fi­nal in Zurich.

Of the three, Jo­bod­wana had the most re­al­is­tic chance of snatch­ing the 200m crown, as he went into Thurs­day’s com­pe­ti­tion in the lead.

He had nine points, one ahead of Panama’s Alonso Ed­ward and Great Bri­tain’s Zhar­nel Hughes, who were jointly sec­ond.

Jo­bod­wana had beaten the two to the bronze medal at the re­cent IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing a week ago. But Alonso won the race and ran away with the loot.

Van Niek­erk, on the other hand, went into his Diamond race on eight points and needed a win to over­haul Ki­rani James of Gre­nada, who was on a two-point lead head­ing to the Zurich meet­ing – but the Bloem­fontein-based sprinter fell four points be­hind even­tual Diamond win­ner James, and a point adrift of sec­ond-placed LaShawn Mer­ritt of the US.

A week ago, the SA 400m cham­pion and record holder beat the two to the gold medal and a $60 000 first prize at the Bei­jing global cham­pi­onships.

Van Niek­erk’s coach, Anna Botha, said the Diamond win would have been a bonus, as their goal was achieved in Bei­jing, which was for the sprinter to be the world cham­pion.

Mean­while, Viljoen went to Thurs­day's meet­ing four points adrift of the Czech Re­pub­lic’s Barbora Špotáková, who claimed the grand prize.

The meet­ing in Zurich was the sec­ond-last of the 14-meet­ing se­ries of the Diamond League that ends in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, on Fri­day.

Van Niek­erk and Jo­bod­wana will con­clude their sea­son in Brus­sels, where the re­main­ing Diamond cham­pi­ons will be crowned.

The pair will meet mul­ti­ple world cham­pion Usain Bolt of Ja­maica in a non-Diamond race in the 200m fi­nal.


OFF PACE Wayde Van Niek­erk fell short of claim­ing another IAAF grand prize this week SO CLOSE Anaso Jo­bod­wana came ag­o­nis­ingly close to win­ning the Diamond League


OFF TAR­GET Sunette Viljoen was another big loser at the Zurich Diamond League this week

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