Report07 Jul 2014

Makwala breaks African 400m record with stunning one-day sprint double in La Chaux-de-Fonds


All-round sprinter Isaac Makwala of Botswana (© Getty Images)

Botswana’s Isaac Makwala sped to the fastest ever one-day double over 200m and 400m at the Resisprint International meeting in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds on Sunday (6).

The African champion already held national records at all three sprint distances, but he obliterated his 400m PB with 44.01. Not only does it take him to 11th on the world all-time list, it also improved on Gary Kikaya’s African record of 44.10 set in 2006.

Compatriot Pako Seribe finished second in 45.21, just 0.17 away from the PB he set earlier this year.

Just 90 minutes later, Makwala was back on track for the 200m. Despite a slight -0.4m/s headwind, the 27-year-old sped to another national record, stopping the clock at 19.96. The performance takes him to third on the African all-time list.

Qatar’s world indoor 60m bronze medallist Femi Ogunode finished second in 20.32, having earlier won the 100m in 10.10.

Both of Makwala’s winning marks were meeting records, having also set a 200m meeting record last year with his 20.21 clocking.

Makala, who finished fourth at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome last month, is now hopeful of defending his African 400m title. Should he succeed in doing that, he will earn a team spot for the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech later this year.

Elsewhere in La Chaux-de-Fonds, three-time world finalist William Sharman won the 110m hurdles in 13.28 (0.6m/s), also breaking the meeting record to win by more than half a second.

US long jump champion Jeff Henderson, winner of the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Lausanne and New York, found a leap of 8.10m sufficient to win before passing his three final attempts.

In still conditions, South Africa’s Carina Horn won the women’s 100m in 11.25, while Lithuania’s Agne Serksniene clocked 51.62 to win the 400m from Zambia’s Kabange Mpopo (51.67), both setting PBs.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF

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