Wayde van Niekerk ready for ‘massive opportunity’ against Akani Simbine in 200m
CAPE TOWN – It’s race-day in the much anticipated 200m at the Athletics South Africa invitational meeting in Johannesburg, so who will do their talking on the track?
It’s Wayde van Niekerk against Akani Simbine at the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium in Roodepoort on Tuesday afternoon, where the two Mzansi sprint stars will square off at 4pm in the 200m.
While not their specialist events – with Van Niekerk the 400m world record-holder and Olympic champion, and Simbine the 100m Commonwealth Games winner – they will look to increase their speed work and endurance in the half-lap event today, and hopefully set an Olympic qualifying standard as well (20.24 seconds).
“Massive opportunity today. Looking forward competing against a quality line up. Positive steps forward. God is good,” Van Niekerk tweeted on Tuesday, having run 20.64 in his season-opener in Potchefstroom last week.
Simbine hasn’t said anything on social media about today’s race, but one who is keen to get back into the spotlight is Anaso Jobodwana. A 200m bronze medallist at the 2015 world championships, Jobodwana is back on home soil from the United States and hoping to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
He expressed his delight at being on the track earlier in the week on social media, but on Tuesday, he meant business: “Ready for the war, Ready for the war, Reeeeady.”
A few days ago, the 28-year-old said: “RACE WEEK! Another opportunity to battle against the best.Time to focus and start putting the pieces together.”
So, will it be Simbine who will do his talking on the track? He certainly will be confident of posting a quick time, having run 9.99 in the 100m in Johannesburg last week.
Botswana 400m star Isaac Makwala is another big name who will take part in the 200m race today.
* The meeting will be livestreamed on the SABC Sport website https://www.sabcsportonline.co.za/ from 3pm, with the men’s 200m scheduled for 4pm.