Battle of giants at Roodepoort

The 400m world and Olympic champion from Bloemfontein, Wayde van Niekerk, will go head-to-head with Akani Simbine over 200m today (Thur) afternoon in the much anticipated 200m at the Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort.

Van Niekerk, who has a 200m silver medal from the 2017 World Championships will be put to the test by the reigning Commonwealth Games 100m champion.

To spice up the sprint, Anaso Jobodwana and Luxolo Adams will also be running in the 200m.

While both Van Niekerk and Simbine are not specialist in this event, they will look to increase their speed work and endurance in the half-lap event and hopefully set an Olympic qualifying standard as well, which 20.24 seconds.

“Massive opportunity today. Looking forward to competing against a quality line up. Positive steps forward. God is good,” Van Niekerk tweeted on Tuesday, after running 20.64 in his season-opener in Potchefstroom last week.

Simbine hasn’t said anything on social media about the 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.

The president of Athletics South Africa, Aleck Skhosana, is excited about the line-up assembled for the second leg of the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the SABC Sport website from 3pm, with the men’s 200m scheduled for 4pm.

By: Thapelo Molebatsi