Having stamped his authority as South Africa’s fastest man, lanky sprint prodigy Anaso Jobodwana is heading back to the drawing board in an effort to tweak his approach and write himself into the record books.
Jobodwana, who turns 21 at the end of this month, grabbed a magnificent sprint double at the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia, this week, but the SA 100m and 200m marks continued to elude him by the narrowest of margins.
While he had his sights set on another solid performance at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month, Jobodwana was reluctant to admit he had the national records in his sights, insisting his only goal was to continue his steady improvement.
“I’m just aiming to get my personal bests, so I guess that translates to national records,” Jobodwana said.
“I haven’t really made any plans yet, so I’ll go back to the drawing board and see what I need to work on and take it from there.”
He won gold in the men’s 100m final on Monday night, matching his personal best of 10.10 seconds and again just missing the national record of 10.06 jointly held by Johan Rossouw and Simon Magakwe.
He continued his fine form yesterday evening when he crossed the line in the men’s 200m final in 20.00 seconds, finishing 0.23 seconds clear of defending champion Rasheed Dwyer of Jamaica, who claimed the silver medal.
While he was 0.11 seconds inside the 11-year-old South African record held by Morne Nagel, the time was recorded with a 2.4 metres per second tailwind and did not count for record purposes.
“It was a bit unlucky with the wind but the conditions were perfect,” he said.
Jobodwana rose from relative obscurity to reach the men’s 200m final at last year’s London Olympic Games.
That performance, he believed, laid the foundation for his budding career. After lining up against Jamaican world record holder Usain Bolt on the biggest stage of all, he was no longer a nervous wreck at the start line of major events.
“The Olympics has helped me get ready for international events like this,” he said.
“It has helped me stay calm and pay proper attention to my races.”
After an impressive season on the United States collegiate circuit, setting career records of 10.10 and 20.13 in his specialist events, he took another big step forward in Kazan.
Jobodwana, from the Eastern Cape, became the first man to win the short sprint double at the World Student Games since Italian Pietro Mennea won 100m and 200m gold at the 1975 university spectacle in Rome.
Mennea went on to win the men’s 200m title at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
While Jobodwana was already looking to make marginal improvements ahead of the global senior championships, his long-term plans were put on hold, as he was set to return to the track today to lead the men’s SA 4x100m relay quartet in the first-round heats in Kazan.
“After four rounds [in the 200m] I think I’ve proved that my body is in good shape, so I was happy with my performance,” Jobodwana said.
“I’ll now turn my focus to the relay.”
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