Botswana’s 400m icon Isaac Makwala this week made his way into IAAF World Championship folklore following a controversial disqualification from the 400m race final on Tuesday night in London, UK. However on Wednesday night the local athlete shocked the world when he managed to qualify for both the 200m semi final and final race within two hours. This week Makwala was one of the most talked about people in the world after taking part in a solo race at the ongoing World championships. The intriguing run saw Makwala qualify for the 200m semi final just hours before the final race qualifier where he came second to Isaiah Young of the USA. The local athlete became the subject of a major controversy when he was denied entry into the stadium facility where he was due to compete for the 400m final against South African rival Wayde Van Niekerk and his compatriot Baboloki Thebe. Makwala was denied access into the stadium after allegations that he was one of the 30 athletes who were affected by the norovirus following an outbreak at a hotel where some of the athletes are staying. However, the runner insisted that he was never tested for the virus by IAAF doctors. The following day the issue had become an international uproar and quickly knives were drawn for the IAAF top brass who were swift to act on the matter. A solo race was ordered in which Makwala ran against the clock to beat the 20.53 sec required to qualify for the 200m semi final.
And what a qualifying spectacle it was. The whole stadium in London fell silent when a steely eyed Makwala, clad in national flag colours and green spikes seemed to race against the IAAF mobile camera on the rail to record an impressive 20:20 sec. After his solo flight the muscle bound sprinter was quick to display his fitness level to the masses when he exhibited a few push ups for good measure. The time Makwala set was not level with his 19.77 sec personal best in 200m but it was enough to see the 30 year old redeem himself and renew hopes for an individual medal.
Nevertheless Makwala was never given the opportunity to see if he could have pulled an upset against South African favourite Wayde Van Neikerk who won gold in 400m this past Tuesday. Makwala’s controversial disqualification from the 400m final did not only raise eye brows in London as the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) was quick to lodge a protest,prompting the IAAF to respond by allowing Makwala to qualify for the 200m race. The runner is expected to compete in the 4x400m race along with some of his compatriots in later stages of the competition.