Johannesburg - Anaso Jobodwana smashed the South African record as he claimed bronze in the men’s 200 metres in an outstanding time of 19.87 seconds of at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China on Thursday.
Jobodwana started well and powered home to claim the medal as Usain Bolt of Jamaica won in 19.55 with Justin Gatlin of America runner-up in 19.74. Bolt again completed the rare-double of 100m and 200m gold at a Major championship.
A dip at the line also proved crucial for the 23-year-old South African as he edged ahead of Alonso Edward of Panama who was credited with the same time.
The bronze of Jobodwana meant South Africa secured their second medal of the championships. Jobodwana also broke the SA record in the event of 19.94 set by Wayde van Niekerk in July.
The other big medal hopeful for South Africa did not fare quite as well. Just a day after South Africa produced one of the performances of the championship with Van Niekerk winning gold in the men’s 400 metres, Caster Semenya finished stone last in her semi-final to crash out of the women’s 800m.
Semenya, 24, finished way at the back of the field in a time of 2 minutes 03.18 seconds, some five seconds off the leaders and a place in the final. Semenya went out slowly, but her customary surge on the second lap was missing and the former World Champion never looked in the same class as the other runners in the two-lap event.
Though her tactics are often questioned, it was clear her fitness levels are severely lacking after not managing to replicate her 1:59.59 she ran on Wednesday in the heats.
Though Semenya broke the two minute barrier for the first time in nearly two years with her time in the heats, she remains nowhere near her personal best of 1:55.45 she ran as an 18-year-old to blow away the field for her World Championship title in 2009.
Earlier, Justine Palframan finished sixth in her 200m semi-final in a time of 23.04 seconds, as she missed out on a place in the final. In the triple-jump, Khotso Mokoena finished ninth with a best leap of of 16.81m.
The athlete would count himself unlucky not to progress to the next round of the final, losing out on making it through by a single centimetre. In the morning session, Johan Cronje was the lone South African to progress in the heats.
The 1500-metre runner went in the first of three heats with the top six qualifying automatically. Cronje, surprise bronze medallist from the previous world championships in Moscow 2013, held back from the start as the pace was slow on the first two laps in the extreme heat with the temperature around the 30 degree mark.
On the final lap, the runners clicked into gear and it turned out to be a sprint for the line to find out who would go through. Cronje did well to grab the sixth and final qualifying spot in a time of 3 minutes 43.29 seconds.
Fellow South African Dumisane Hlaselo lined up in the second 1500m heat, and though he managed a faster time than Cronje he would fall out of the competition. In a much faster race the South African managed ninth place in a time of 3:40.25 - which was just under a second outside the qualifying time for the semi-finals.
In the men’s discus qualification round, SA’s Victor Hogan launched a throw of 62.41m with his first attempt. He was unable to improve on his first effort which left him in eighth place in his group and an anxious wait ensued to see if he would progress to the next round. The news would only be bad for Hogan, as it turned out he would miss out on the next round by seven centimetres in 13th place.