Jobodwana hopes its third time lucky against Gatlin


File: Anaso Jobodwana wins the final of the Mens 200m at the Athletix Grand Prix Athletics Series at Ruimsig Stadium, Johannesburg.

File: Anaso Jobodwana wins the final of the Mens 200m at the Athletix Grand Prix Athletics Series at Ruimsig Stadium, Johannesburg.

PRETORIA - Tuks athlete Anaso Jobodwana will be hoping it&39;s third time lucky when he takes on the current world champion, American Justin Gatlin on Thursday over 150m during the Athletix Grand Prix meeting at the University of Pretoria.

The former South African record-holder over 200 metres said he has only raced against Gatlin twice and both times Gatlin out-sprinted him.

“I have to get him before he retires,” Jobodwana said smiling broadly and admitting to being realistically confident of getting one over Gatlin.

“My training has been going well, but I know the type of athlete, Justin, is. I will have to bring my A-game to the track tomorrow if I want to have any chance.

“What makes Justin such a good sprinter is his explosiveness out of the blocks. I will have to make sure I stay in touch with him around the bend to have a chance to catch up with him down the straight. If I can beat him, it will be a good confidence-booster for the rest of the season.

READ: SA&39;s Jobodwana tops 200m Diamond Race standings

“The biggest mistake I can make is to put too much pressure on myself. My only focus is going to be on executing the perfect race.

"Whatever the outcome it will also be important to get what I can from the race and learn,” said the Tuks athlete who at last week’s Grand Prix meeting at Ruimsig won the 200m in a time of 20.13 seconds. It is his fastest time since 2015.

File: American, Justin Gatlin. Credit: AFP 

In Ruimsig Jobodwana did not hold back when he realised that he was going to beat Clarence

Munyai (Tuks) and he pointed towards him as he sprinted across the line.

According to him, it was not meant as a form of disrespect.

“It is who I am. I have been doing it since my high school days. My gestures on the track are always spontaneous as I am in the zone at that moment.”

There will be no repeat showdown on Thursday as Munyai has opted to compete in the 100m on Thursday. The Tuks-athlete believes that he is capable of running an even faster time than the 10.10 he ran at the Gauteng North Championships. 

READ: Usain Bolt not surprised by Wayde van Niekerk domination

The fact that he will be pushed by the South African record-holder, Akani Simbine, will aid him in his quest for a fast time.

Although it is Simbine’s first race for the season, it is highly likely that something amazing is going to happen especially considering that over the last two years he has been in the habit of starting his season’s campaign with a sub 10-second race.

The Tuks track has become a favourite hunting ground for Simbine. During last year’s Gauteng North Championships he managed to run times of 9.98 and 9.95 on the same day.

In the 400m hurdles it is going to be a case of a former world champion racing a current world champion.  Kenya’s Nicholas Bett won the senior world title in 2015, while Sokwakhana Zazini (TuksSport High School) is the current world youth champion.

At the Gauteng North Championships, Zazini in only his second race competing against seniors, he won his heat, beating LJ van Zyl and Le Roux Hamman who are both Olympians.