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Anaso lines up against Bolt

Anaso Jobodwana, the former Selborne College pupil who only turned 20 on July 30, reached the semi-finals of the men’s 200m on Tuesday and on Wednesday finds himself competing against the greatest sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt, writes Gary Lemke.

“What can I do,” he laughed after qualifying when asked what would happen if and when he came up against Bolt. “I just have to put in the best effort I can. I’m not going to beat him, am I?”

The Jackson State University-based athlete was a late inclusion into Team SA and has more than justified his inclusion. He clocked 20.46 seconds in qualifying for the semi-finals, finishing second in his heat and allowing himself to look around down the home straight, ala Bolt, and said, “I was looking to see where I was and where I needed to be placed (the first three athletes home qualified). I’m really happy to be here.”

Well, now, he’s likely to be delighted. He’ll start off in lane four, with Bolt in lane six, just out to his right. You’d expect that will be the closest he gets to the Jamaican superstar but by running himself into the position he has, he has a life experience not shared by many. And he’s living up to his nickname ÔÇô “Ambitious Jay”.

Elsewhere on the track on Wednesday, Caster Semenya, the world 2009 champion and 2011 silver medallist ÔÇô and South Africa’s flag bearer ÔÇô┬á makes her debut Olympic appearance and she runs in the morning’s heats.

Semenya’s lifetime best is a 1min 55.45sec set that night in Berlin now three years ago and she comes into the Olympics with a season’s best of 1:59.18. There’s a 1:57 runner in her heat (America’s Alysia Johnson Montano) while the Cuban Rose Mary Almanza is another sub-two minute athlete so the South African is going to have to bring her ‘A’ game right from the start.

The busiest South African in action will be decathlete Willem Coertzen, whose day begins with the 100m at 10.10am and is rounded off with the 400m, almost 12 hours later.

The women’s hockey players also play their final match, a play-off for ninth and tenth, against Japan and BMX cyclist Siphiso Nhlapo, who fell in the final at Beijing 2008, is in action to sort out the seedings for the more important business that lies ahead.

The provisional schedule for South African Olympians in action at London 2012 on Wednesday is:

(All times are UK local. For South Africa, add one hour).

Athletics

10.10am: Men’s decathlon, 100m: Willem Coertzen (heat 2, lane two)

11.30: Men’s decathlon, long jump: Willem Coertzen

11.35am: Women’s 800m, Caster Semenya (heat one, lane eight)

1.45pm: Men’s decathlon, Shot put: Willem Coertzen (Group B)

6pm: Men’s decathlon, High jump (Group A): Willem Coertzen

7.19pm: Men’s 110m hurdles, semi-finals: Lehann Fourie (heat three, lane six)

8.12pm: Men’s 200m, semi-finals: Anaso Jobodwana (heat two, lane four)

9.33pm: Men’s decathlon, 400m, Willem Coertzen (heat two, lane three)

Cycling (BMX)

3.40pm: Men’s seeding run: Sifiso Nhlapo

Hockey (women)

8.30am: Play-off for 9th and 10th: Japan vs South Africa


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