Anaso Jobodwana rose to fame after he clocked 20.27 seconds to qualify for the 200m final at last year’s London Olympics. His accolades include claiming the gold medal at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia and inclusion in the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans 2013 list.
For Jobodwana, this all started a decade ago. At the age of nine when boys his age were playing with video games and toys, Jobodwana was busy winning the 80m sprinter at Selbourne Primary School. His career rose when he made a name for himself at the London Olympics, competing with the Jamaican sprinter and world record holder Uisan Bolt. Even South Africa’s Minister of Correctional Services, Sbu Ndebele, congratulated Anaso by saying “I am extremely “proud” of the young athlete for putting this country on the map.
Fresh off his victories at the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia, Anaso was part of the SA national team’s five gold medal wins. Back in Pakamisa, a township outside King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape, the Jobodwana family watched the games to cheer him on.
Jobodwana’s little brother Sekani was excited when his older brother scooped a gold medal. He told the Dispatch that he is so happy to see his brother doing so well and exceeding his own goals.
Jobodwana clocked in 10.10 seconds, matching his personal best and missing the national record (held by Johan Rossouw and Simon Magakweby) by just 0.04 seconds.
The media is putting pressure on the 21-year-old sprinter to break the world record in athletics. Jobodwana says he won’t allow the media to worry him: “I focus only on the pressure I put on myself so that I can gradually build my career without trying to live up to other people’s expectations. That’s what gives me an extra thrill.”
American Tyson Gay has been banned for five years for testing positive for a banned substance, and Jamaican Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake are all out of the picture. Will Jobodwana pose as a threat to Usain Bolt? All remains to be seen – but for now, Jobodwana focuses on his physiotherapy studies at the Jackson State University in Mississippi-United States.