Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who won the 400m at the inaugural Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting in Roodepoort, Johannesburg on Thursday, 01 March, has his sights set on breaking the 31 second barrier at the University of Pretoria’s Tuks Stadium in Tshwane this coming Thursday, 08 March.
The 300m is not an often run event and as such, only three athletes have broken through the 31sec mark. These three are illustrious names indeed. Wayde van Niekerk holds the world best of 30.81sec (Ostrava, 28 June 2017), having broken the previous record set by Michael Johnson of 30.85sec (Tshwane, 24 March 2000) and Usain Bolt (30.97sec – Ostrava, 27 May 2010).
Makwala will only be the 4th athlete to go under 31sec should he accomplish the feat on Thursday, 08 March.
Clearly in a confident mood, Makwala said that if the race was in June he would be looking at the world record. But it is March, so a sub 31sec is a more realistic target. After running national records for both the 200m (19.77Ssec – 14 July) and 300m (31.44sec – Ostrava, 10 June) last year, the 31-year-old has clearly grown in confidence.
Makwala also holds the 400m national record for Botswana, 43.72sec run at La Chaux-de-Fonds in 2015.
“I did not go flat out in the 400m on Thursday (1 March) because I still had the 200m a bit later in the evening. But there is only the 300m for me this Thursday (8 March), so I feel very confident about getting close to that sub 31sec,” said Makwala.
He will line up against among others, Pieter Conradie, who was third in Ruimsig (45.77sec) and young Thapelo Phora who ran a Personal Best of 45.39sec to finish second behind Makwala in Ruimsig. Also in the field is the dangerous Ofentse Mogawane who is renowned for his aggressive front running tactics.