JOHANNESBURG - Anaso Jobodwana sent out the most emphatic signal yet that he is well and truly back after schooling world champion Justin Gatlin in the 150m at the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix in Pretoria.
It was Jobodwana's biggest scalp of his career adding to one of the best weeks of his life after his baby son was born this week.
Jobodwana again produced the swagger that suggests he is returning to the kind of form that made him a world bronze medallist back in 2015.
The former South African 200m record-holder produced such a dominant performance that he almost had to look back as he taunted Gatlin over the final 20 metres.
Last week it was rising youngster Clarence Munyai that fell victim to Jobodwana's taunts in the 200m in Roodepoort this time it was one of the big fish of global athletics.
Jobodwana crossed the line on the blue Mondo track in a time of 15.08 seconds with sprinting stalwart Roscoe Engel finishing second in 15.17 with Luxolo Adams bagging bronze clocking 15.18.
While Gatlin had to be content with fourth place with 15.23, Engel marched around the track screaming “I beat Gatlin” marking possibly one of the greatest achievements of his career.
Jobodwana was more measured in his response and said his victory needed to be placed in context in terms of the time of the season for the American.
“It was really important just mentally, I know he is not at his best but it is Justin Gatlin, he is the world champion and not a lot of people have been able to beat him,” Jobodwana said.
“So for me, mentally and especially with what I was going through last year, I wasn't able to beat people like Gatlin.
“It was important going into Commonwealth Games just to know I feel comfortable in a race and know I can finish strong and win.”
Earlier, three-time world champion Caster Semenya set a new South African 1000m best of 2:35.43 to knock almost two seconds off Ilze Wicksell's time set in 1983.
Semenya was again in a class of her own where she beat strong Ugandan competitors Halimah Nakaayi and Winnie Nanyondo, who clocked 2:37.55 and 2:37.98 respectively.
“It is all about execution and I’ve trained for it, and now it is just to move into the future. I will be doubling 800m and 1500m at the South African championships,” Semenya said.
Perhaps an even more significant event on Thursday evening was that the meeting provided solid evidence that new life has been breathed into track and field in the country.
The Tuks track was chock and block, with athletics fans pouring into the gates and filling the stands to watch the best local and international stars in action.