Sokwakhana Zazini in action in the 400m hurdles event. Photo: @UPTuks on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – South African athletics suffered another setback after 400m hurdles talent Sokwakhana Zazini withdrew from the team for the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Doha starting next week. 

The TuksSport athlete and his management team decided to opt-out of the global championships as a precaution due to a bone bruise in his right foot. 

The youth and junior world champion would have featured at his first senior championships but decided to rather recoup, recover and focus on next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Zazini’s personal best of 48.73 seconds he clocked at the World Student Games in Napoli is the 15th fastest in the world this year and the best time by an African athlete in 2019 so far. 

Zazini’s coach Lucinda Liebenberg said her charge had spent some time in a moon boot and it was decided to start with the rehabilitation process to get him 100 percent fit for the Olympics which is less than a year away. 

“He had a good season, and we achieved everything we wanted to this year, the world champs would have been a bonus, but we won’t risk it,” Liebenberg said.

“His foot is already a lot better…a week ago, we wanted to do a track session, and he couldn’t walk on the foot.”

Liebenberg said they would start conditioning off the track improving his strength in the gym.

“This is a blessing in disguise because we can now give attention to the things we need to to get him to run low 48s/47s,” Liebenberg said. 

“For him to race in a final at the world championships, he would have to produce a personal best.”

Zazini has been one of the few South African athletes that have produced world-class times this year. He has already posted an Olympic qualifying time so why would we want to jeopardise that?”

The South African team has been hit by a host of injuries and scandals with just over a week to go to the global showpiece.

On Monday it was revealed women’s national 100m record-holder Carina Horn had been provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

The country will already have to do without Olympic champions Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya. 

@ockertde

 

The Star

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