NEWS

Botswanan Sprinter Isaac Makwala Runs Solo In World Athletics Championships

Isaac Makwala had the whole track to himself after he was granted a special qualification race.

10/08/2017 11:52 SAST | Updated 10/08/2017 11:52 SAST

Botswana's star sprinter, Isaac Makwala, has been having a bit of a rough trot at the World Athletic Championships in London this week.

First, the world's second best 400m runner was thought to be one of at least 30 athletes and team members infected in a suspected norovirus outbreak.

Then, he was prevented from running in Monday's 200m heats.

And he was physically barred from entering London Stadium for Tuesday's 400m final.

However, speaking to the BBC on Tuesday the 30-year-old contended that he had "never been sick and not tested by any doctor".

"I am heartbroken. I feel like it is sabotage. I am feeling good to run," Makwala said.

John Sibley / Reuters
Makwala managed to sprint 200m in 20.20secs.

In a spectacular, if not bizarre, twist of fate on Wednesday evening, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) granted Makwala a special qualification race, allowing the athlete to run solo in front of a packed stadium in an attempt to qualify for the 200m semifinal.

With rain pouring down and a time to beat of 20.53 seconds, Makwala appeared to effortlessly sprint across the finish line in an impressive 20.20 seconds.

And if finishing the sprint well and truly within the target time wasn't enough to prove he was fit and ready, Makwala then proceeded to do a series of push-ups on the track.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
What a champion.

The decision of the IAAF to let Makwala run came after pressure from Botswana's Athletics Association, who requested the 30-year-old be allowed to compete.

"He will run at 18:40hrs this evening on his own in lane seven, which was his original lane draw in the opening round," an IAAF statement read.

"No athletes already qualified for the semi-final will be adversely affected."