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12 March 2018 | in NUSF News, Summer Universiade, Athletics

Former Universiade champs shine in South Africa

Reigning 100m world champion Justin Gatlin congratulates the former Universiade gold medallist Anaso Jobodwana on his winning performance at the recent 150m event in Pretoria, South Africa

South African speedsters and former Universiade gold medallists Anaso Jobodwana and Akine Simbine have both taken their athletic ability to the next level following impressive performances in their back yard in recent weeks.

 

The duo have been the headline acts at the newly-launched Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix in South Africa, a three-part series that features 10-12 track and field events pitting the best in the country, continent and globe against each other in the county’s first sponsored athletics event in six years.

Current 100m Universiade record holder Akine Simbine, lined up for his first 100m race of the season and cruised to victory in a time of 10.05 seconds in a dominant performance

 

The Grand Prix, which boasts a total prize money of R1.365 million (approximately 100,000 euros)‚ is split into three legs, the second of which took place earlier this week at the Tuks Stadium in the South African capital city of Pretoria.

 

Jobodwana, who sped away to 100m and 200m glory at the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade, had won the 200m event at the first leg in Roodepoort, Johannesburg, earlier in the month, and lined up in the unique 150m event at Tuks Stadium against global superstar and world 100m champion Justin Gatlin of the USA, who was making a guest appearance at the championship.

 

Gatlin, who had raced and beaten Jobodwana in their two previous races against each other, could not match the 25-year-old South African, as the Biology graduate from Jackson State University in Mississippi cruised to victory in a blistering time of 15.08 seconds, with Gatlin only managing a fourth-place finish in a time of 15.23 seconds.

 

Simbine, who set the current 100m Universiade record with gold at the Gwangju 2015 Summer Universiade, lined up for the 100m event – his first race of the season – and cruised to victory in a time of 10.05 seconds, as the Bachelor of Information Science, who only recently graduated towards the end of last year, started his season in victorious fashion.

 

The Universiade stars have progressed in leaps and bounds since announcing themselves at university level, with Jobodwana’s highlight being his bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, while Simbine – who holds the South African 100m record – reached the final of the 100m event at the Rio Olympics two years ago, ending the race in fifth.

 

Both stars are set to feature in the third and final leg of Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting, which takes place at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in the Western Cape on Thursday, March 22.

 

Thereafter the duo will finalise their preparations ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, commencing on 4 April, with both touted as serious medal contenders at these Games.