Wayde top of world with new SA record

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCK­ERT DE VIL­LIERS

RAC­ING TO A world lead and new South African record of 19.84 sec­onds, Wayde van Niek­erk made a strong state­ment in the half-lap sprint at the Rac­ers Grand Prix in Ja­maica yes­ter­day. The world 400m world record-holder knocked 0.03 sec­onds off Anaso Jo­bod­wana’s pre­vi­ous South African record to go top of the global leader board.

“This is def­i­nitely a pos­i­tive step for­ward, I felt that I was in pretty good shape last week in Bos­ton, I wanted to re­peat that here,” Van Niek­erk was quoted by the IAAF web­site.

Van Niek­erk posted the ex­act same time he clocked last week­end on a 200m straight­track at the Bos­ton Games which could not be con­sid­ered for record pur­poses.

The Rac­ers Grand Prix in Kingston is part of Usain Bolt’s farewell tour where he raced in his fi­nal 100m on home soil.

Bolt won his race in a time 10.03 with coun­try­men Je­vaughn Minzie and Nickel Ash­meade fin­ish­ing be­hind him in 10.15 and 10.18 re­spec­tively.

Van Niek­erk fin­ished ahead of Ja­maicans Rasheed Dwyer (20.11) and Lon­don 2012 bronze medal­list Warren Weir in 20.18.

Two years ago Van Niek­erk be­came the first South African to break through the 20-sec­ond bar­rier in the 200m when he blitzed to a time of 19.97 in a ‘B’ fi­nal at a meet­ing in Lucerne.

Jo­bod­wana then low­ered the record to 19.87 for his bronze medal at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing.

Van Niek­erk’s form in the half-lap event bodes well for his bid at the World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don where he will at­tempt the 200400m dou­ble.

The IAAF has ap­proved changes to the timetable for the Au­gust Cham­pi­onships fol­low­ing re­quests from South Africa to en­able Van Niek­erk to at­tempt the dou­ble.

Van Niek­erk, who shat­tered Michael Johnson’s 400m world record at the Rio Olympic Games when he crossed the line in 43.03 sec­onds, has been con­ser­va­tively rac­ing his spe­cial­ist one-lap event.

He will be rac­ing in his first in­ter­na­tional 400m race of the sea­son at the Di­a­mond League meet­ing in Lau­sanne in July.

The South African will be look­ing to make a strong state­ment in his spe­cial­ist event and knock a big chunk off his sea­son’s best time of 46.28.

Ear­lier, South African 100m record-holder Akani Sim­bine fin­ished sec­ond (10:00) be­hind for­mer Ja­maican world cham­pion Yo­han Blake (9:97) in the short sprint.

Mean­while, con­tin­u­ing on her good form South African­based Bri­ton Tish Jones cap­tured the Dur­ban leg of the Spar Women’s 10km Chal­lenge with a new per­sonal best time.

The Cape Town Marathon cham­pion led from gun to tape and­cross the line first at the King’s Park Sta­dium in 32.58 min­utes. She fin­ished ahead of Kesa Mo­let­sane, who launched a late charge to fin­ish in sec­ond place (33.31). Le­bo­gang Phalula took third in 33.39.

Jones also won the Cape Town One Run last month.

“As soon as the start gun went off I found my­self in the lead and I wasn’t sure how sen­si­ble that was but I know I am com­fort­able go­ing out at that pace now,” Jones said.

“I guess I was just con­tem­plat­ing what would hap­pen to ev­ery­one after five kilo­me­tres and whether I can main­tain that pace.”

Jones had Zim­babwe’s Ru­tendo Nya­hora, No­lene Con­rad and Ethiopian Elis­a­bet Arsedo for com­pany in the first half of the race. She made her

break close to the sixk­ilo­me­tre mark as she opened a de­cent gap which she held to the fin­ish.

Back in April, Jones earned 18th place at the Lon­don Marathon with a per­sonal best time of 2:33:56. It was only her sec­ond 42km race.

“Run­ning a marathon at a fast pace for 42 kilo­me­tres lends it­self to do­ing a 10km but a 10km is nerve-wrack­ing for me,” Jones said.

Mo­let­sane, who won the Port El­iz­a­beth race of the six­leg se­ries, said she had to adapt to the change in tem­per­a­tures com­ing from the freez­ing Free State to the warmer Dur­ban.

“Things did not go well, I didn’t feel like my­self but I pushed hard to en­sure I fin­ish in the top three to stay in con­tention in the se­ries,” Mo­let­sane said.

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