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Anaso up to the job
- Updated: June 19, 2012
By Mark Etheridge
Anaso Jobodwana has blasted his way into contention for Team South Africa at the Olympic Games in London later this year.
And from a period where South Africa was experiencing a sprinting doldrum, the Eastern Cape teenager and Simon Magakwe are going about putting our sprinting back on the map.
Based in the United States where he ran for Jackson State University while studying for a Biology Major, 19-year-old Jobodwana has run two sub 20.55sec times in the 200-metre dash. Olympic A qualifying standard is 20.55 and the youngster has now run a 20.32 in Mississippi as well as the 20.50sec he ran in Slovenia last week.
He’s actually also run a 20:48 but a strong tail-wind ruled that out in terms of qualifying.
For his part, Magakwe has qualified on six occasions for the 100m but is still one international qualifying run shy of booking his spot on the SAA plane to London next month.
Jobodwana’s fast rise to fame is an impressive one. He comes from Phakamisa, near King Willliam’s Town in the Eastern Cape and only started running in 2008 when he was in Grade 10.
“In 2009 I┬á qualified to go to the SA youth and Junior Champs for the 100m and 200m and┬á came sixth in the 100m final and fourth in the 200m final,” he told Road to London 2012. “Then towards the end of 2009 I was introduced to Mr Johan van Greunen who helped me when he could. I was in East London at the time and he was in Port Elizabeth so it was difficult but he wrote out the programmess for me and I would then do them on my own. That helped as I won SA Schools in 2010 in the 200m. I ran 20.95 in the semi and 21.2 in the final.”
But he was then laid low by injury after running a 21.36 for third spot at the Yellow Pages Youth and Junior Championship and he ended up missing the 2011 season.
The States beckoned in 2011 and he left for America in August, only coming back to South Africa this year.
“I was quite anxious for my American season this year,” he says. “Training went well but I didn’t know what shape i was in but I did well on the indoor season and ended up qualifying for nationals and ran a 20.66 best and earning All-American honors.
“Two weeks after that I ran my first outdoor race and ran 20.61 in Oxford, Mississippi.” The week after that was where he ran the 20.48 wind-assisted at the Florida Relays.
“Then I ran again in Mississippi where I ran the 20.32 personal best.”
That time makes him the 19th fastest in the world on the IAAF ranking system and the sixth fastest South African yet ÔÇô Morne Nagel is still fastest with the 20.11 he ran 10 years ago at the high-altitude venue of Germiston.
And what does he make of the excitement his time has generated in SA track circles. “To be honest, the qualification was something that I didn’t think of since I got injured. I told myself that I’d rather try for the 2016 Games so it feels like a dream that came true four years early.
“If I do make the final team, it will be a great experience for me.. I’m nervous, excited, scared ÔÇô all in one.”