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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

"I was overweight," KZNA champ Anaso Jobodwana reflects on 2021, says 2022 will be great!

It's hard to believe that it's been almost ten years since Anaso Jobodwana gave Usain Bolt that cheeky smile on his way to becoming South Africa's first ever World Championship 200m medalist. At just 23 years old at the time, the Eastern Cape born self-taught American-trained sprinter filled our hearts with hope of a future punctuated with Olympic medals. Instead the road from that bronze medal in 2015 has been a difficult one where injury and personal challenges have left many wondering if the three-time Olympian will ever achieve those incredible heights again.

"It was a moment of introspection for me when I was at the Olympics," he told #TheTopRunner when asked about the disappointment of failing to reach the final of the 200m at #Tokyo2021. Jobodwana who only qualified for the Games on world ranking, finished last in his semi-final, forcing him to take a long, hard look at himself. "I asked myself what went wrong and who was I before? And I came up with the fact that I was overweight and had injury problems. So when I cam back to South Africa I was able to sort that all out," he explained.

Jobodwana at #Tokyo2021 where he failed to reach the men's 200m final. He says he was overweight with injury problems. Photo Credit: SASCOC Media.

The two-time All Africa Games bronze medalist had been living and training in Durban, but then decided to move to Gauteng in order to be around other world class sprinters at the University of Pretoria's High Performance Centre. "I just came to Pretoria just to be in that athletics environment. In Durban, it thrives in long distance, but sprints no lanes filled up. So it's good to be in Pretoria where I can mix and compete with the best in South Africa," he laughed.

And it looks the change is working. With Olympic 400m athlete Zakhithi Nene hot on his heels, the man who turns 30 years old in July, ran a credible 21.21 200m race in the colours of Phantane Athletics Club on Saturday to win the KZN Athletics Senior and Masters Track and Field Championships. But the struggle is not over for the man who continues to work remotely with his coach in the United States.

Jobodwana has represented KZN at the Senior Track and Field Championships before and could do so again in April after winning the KZNA title over the weekend. Photo Credit: Anaso Jobodwana.

"I train by myself because of consequences. My coach is in the US, so I'm waiting to get back into the US. It's very challenging, but I look at it as everything happens for a reason. It's challenging to be away from my son. I used to spend everyday with him. I used to take him to training with me and he would just sit and watch and have no problems. And now just being able to see him on the phone is kinda hard. But I feel like things are going to get better. I can focus on my training and in due time we'll be back together," he shared.

Jobodwana has been working hard in the gym after the wake-up call that was #Tokyo2021. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

Having had time to process all those difficult emotions and cut out the things that were blocking him from rediscovering his best form, Jobodwana is now confident that 2022 could the year that it all turns around. "I think this year will be one of those seasons where I can be myself again and compete with the best in the world. I just have to stay healthy, stay focused, stay hungry and I think it's gonna be a great season!"

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