Makwala defies solo run, wet conditions to reach 200m final

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 10 Aug 2017, 22:14:19
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Makwala defies solo run, wet conditions to reach 200m final

LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters): Botswana's Isaac Makwala has reached the 200 metres final against all the odds, qualifying from the notoriously difficult inside lane made even more difficult by wet conditions after gaining a reprieve from the IAAF.

South African Wayde van Niekerk, bidding for a double after his 400 metres gold, sneaked into the final as second of the two fastest losers after edging third place in his heat from Christophe Lemaitre by two hundredths of a second.

Makwala, one of the leading contenders for a race which has been left wide open by Usain Bolt's absence, was prevented from running in Monday's opening 200 metres heat and Tuesday's 400m final after falling victim to a stomach virus that hit scores of competitors.

The 30-year-old, seen as a leading contender in both events, had insisted he was fit enough to race while the sport's world governing body had said he had an infectious disease and needed to be quarantined.

Having also been barred from Tuesday's 400 metres final, he was given an unexpected reprieve on Wednesday when the IAAF said he was fit to run as he was no longer considered an infection risk. But he still had a lot to do.

First, he had to run alone in the rain inside 20.53 seconds - the slowest of Monday's qualifiers - to reach the semi-finals.

Although conditions were much worse than the competitors had in the first round two days ago with the rain teeming down in the London Stadium, Makwala sped round the wet track in 20.20 seconds.

Barely two hours later, he had to run again in the semi-finals where he was given the inside lane, made even more difficult than usual by the accumulation of rain water.

But he still managed to finish second in 20.14 seconds, two hundredths of a second behind American Isiah Young who was the fastest qualifier.
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