JOHANNESBURG – Anaso Jobodwana saved South Africa’s blushes on the track, turning in a classy performance to win the 200m at the inaugural Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix at Ruimsig in Roodepoort on Thursday evening.
The 2015 world bronze medalist and female sprinter Tebobo Mamathu were the only South African athletes to win on the track which was dominated by the foreign contingent.
Jobodwana raced to victory in a time of 20.13 seconds which was his fastest on South African soil and his best performance since 2016.
The former national half-lap record-holder toyed with young pretender Clarence Munyai en-route to the joint-sixth fastest time of his career.
Munyai, the South African junior 200m record-holder showed great maturity to remain on Jobdodwana’s shoulder to cross in second place posting his second fastest time ever of 20.18.
“It is not the best of me yet, it is still March and it is my first competitive 200m of the season. I think my bend could have been a little bit better,” Jobodwana said. “I wasn't sure where my fitness is because I haven't run a good 200m in a while but I realised after running with Clarence on Saturday that a 20-flat would be on the cards.
“I haven't run a 10.0 even if it was really windy, so that usually shows my 200m is in a good place.”
Jobodwana signalled that he was returning to his best at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships over the weekend where he posted a wind-aided time of 10.07.
“I feel my confidence is coming back and I hope in time I won't only talk rubbish to Clarence but to the rest of the world,” Jobodwana said. “No offence but you never know how the other people are going to take the trash talk but Clarence and I have a good rivalry going.
“I think maybe over the next two months, especially at the Commonwealth Games, we would be able to take on the world.”
The first leg of the three-meet series may not have drawn a massive crowd but it certainly has the potential to become a sold-out affair in future. It had all the hallmarks of a high-quality international event which was ultimately backed by a few world-class performances.
It was an otherwise bleak night for South Africa with the Botswana contingent proving why they are an international force in the 400m.
Isaac Makwala won the men’s 400m race in a quicksilver season-opener of 45.03 with Thapelo Phora crossing the line in a new personal best of 45.39.
Pieter Conradie, who made his maiden appearance at the world championships last year finished third with a time of 45.77.
Makwala hardly had time to catch his breath as he lined up in the 200m half-an-hour later to finish fifth with a time of 20.89.
Former women’s 400m world champion Amantle Montsho was in a class of her own winning the one-lap sprint in a time of 50.66.
Her compatriot Christine Botlogetswe finish second in 52.07 with South African sprinting ace Justine Palframan following behind her in a creditable 52.19.
Mamathu won the women’s race in a time of 11.47 with Botswana’s Leungo Matlhaku finishing second in 11.55 with Tamzin Thomas bagging bronze in 11.64.