(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Botswana’s National Record holder in the 100m, 200m and 400m, Isaac Makwala, regained his 400m African Record (AR) just 24 hours after South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk broke it, positioning himself as a major contender for a World Championships medal in Beijing next month.

The African champion over the distance ran an astonishing World Lead (WL) of 43.72s at the Resisprint Meeting in La Chaux-de-Fonds on Sunday, breaking the previous record of 43.96s set by South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk, at the just concluded Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday. The South African defeated Olympic and Commonwealth champion Kirani James in the process.

Van Niekerk, who was still basking in the euphoria of making history as the first African to go under the 44s mark, didn’t see it coming, and will be astonished by the fact that his record turned out to be one of the shortest lived in the history of world athletics.

Interestingly, Makwala’s previous record of 44.01s was set at the same meeting in La Chaux-de-Fonds a year ago, where he erased the former AR of 44.10s set in 2006 by Gary Kikaya. His time was the 3rd fastest in 2014 and a new NR for Botswana then.

Makwala’s new mark places him as the 5th fastest of all time on the IAAF list ahead of Olympic Champion Kirani James, and World Champion LaShawn Merritt. It is also the fastest time by a non-US sprinter and the fastest in the world since Jeremy Wariner won the world title in 2007 in 43.45s.

Going by this astounding feat, the men’s 400m would undoubtedly be one of the most exciting events to watch out for in Beijing. This year makes it is the first time since 1992 that three men – Makwala, Van Niekerk and James, have run sub-44 in one season. This leaves out of form Merritt in real danger of missing out on a World Championship medal this year, after also losing the American title to David Verburg last month. Only time will tell if either Makwala or Van Niekerk would become the first African athlete to win the 400m World title.

Nigeria’s Patience Okon George was also in impressive form in the women’s 400m at the same meet, winning with a PB of 50.76s. Her time is the fastest by any Nigerian female quarter-miler in recent years, and puts her on No.12 on the 2015 IAAF Top List. She was closely followed by Zambia’s Kabange Mupopo who also set an NR of 50.86s.

Okon-George’s mark is faster than former national champion, Regina George’s PB of 50.84s. This means the women’s 400m event will be one of the most explosive events at the upcoming National Trials holding from July 30th to August 1 in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Funmi Fameso is a Junior Sports Writer at Making of Champions. She is a 2012 Graduate of Lagos State University, where she obtained a BSc in Microbiology. She worked as a Health Centre Laboratory Assistant during her NYSC year and since then she has worked as a Junior Sports Writer for her church’s youth magazine, Kingsword Youth Club Magazine. It was watching the Sydney 2000 Olympics that ignited her passion of sports, most especially Athletics. Sports means three things to her: Passion, Hard Work and Dedication!


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