Olympic qualifier to compete at first major event
Anaso Jobodwana, the latest addition to the list of Olympic qualifiers, will compete at his first major Championship when he represents South Africa at the CAA Africa Senior Championships in Benin from 27 June to 1 July.
Jobodwana took the top spot on the SA season ranking list in the men’s 200m, when he ran 20.32sec dipping under the 20.55sec Olympic qualifying mark for the first time. He did it again in Slovenia winning the race in 20.50sec.
According to Jobodwana perfect execution at the race in Oxford contributed to the fast time and win. “People were congratulating me as if I had won the race and still being stunned I asked, ‘who won?’ I didn’t expect to win.”
He was aware of the qualifying time, but it was not really part of his plans at the time to qualify for the 2012 Games. He had his sights set on the 2016 Games in Rio. “I was injured and didn't run in the 2011 season. After the indoor season, I just felt like I should give it a try as I did well there.”
After the race in Oxford he struggled with a hip niggle so missed training. “I was really anxious when I went to Europe, wondering whether I was in good shape and able to run fast times again.”
After almost a month of not running, the Eastern Cape athlete started his European season in Bilbao, Spain on 3 June. Despite winning the race, he clocked 21.12sec. On 9 June he competed in France and improved this time to 20.84sec to finish third. On 14 June in Slovenia he ran a second qualifier. “It felt good to run fast again and even though it wasn't a personal best, I was just happy that at least I was in shape.”
In spite of never having fulltime coach he came third at the SA Junior Championships in 2010. “I started off by going onto the internet and finding anything that would help me.”
In 2009 Jobodwana was introduced to Johann van Greunen, a coach based in Port Elizabeth. Van Greunen used to email him workouts to do on his own. “It is hard work, my technique and start is still not where it should be,” said Jobodwana. He and Van Greunen would meet up from time to time for training.
You can’t help but notice the ‘Ambitious Jay’ next to his name on his social media profiles. Jobodwana was listening to a song and the artist said that ambition is priceless as it is in your veins, so he decided to put it next to his name to remind himself of his goals and ambitions.
Coming from a sporting family certainly helps with one sister that played hockey and the other provincial netball. His younger brother plays cricket, while his dad was a rugby player with a turn of speed. Jobodwana grew up in Phakamisa, a township just outside King Williams Town and spent his high school years in East London. He then studied at the Jackson State University, but has returned to pursue athletics.
The 19-year-old will represent South Africa at the Africa Senior Championships in Benin in the men’s 200m, his first major championship. “All I’m focusing on at the moment is improving my time. I am hoping to make it to the final and from there on win a medal,” he said. Simon Magakwe and Thuso Mpuang will also compete in this event with both athletes looking to dip under the 20.55sec mark once in order to qualify for the Olympics.
Jobodwana is ranked 19th in the world. He, Magakwe and Mpuang have highest rankings in Africa followed by Aziz Ouhadi from Morocco. Ouhadi, also a World Indoor 60m finalist ran a personal best of 20.50sec in Brazzaville, Congo on 10 June, 2012 and finished fourth at the Africa Championships in Kenya in 2010.