Makwala beats the rain, stomach virus to qualify in 200
LONDON (AP) — His stomach virus history, Isaac Makwala made the most of a belated chance to compete in the 200 meters at the world championships on Wednesday and qualified for the semifinals.
The runner from Botswana was allowed to race alone on the track ahead of the evening session at the Olympic Stadium, two days after the other sprinters did so. He finished in 20.20 seconds.
Makwala’s biggest rival for gold, 400 champion Wayde van Niekerk, will also run in the 200 semifinals later Wednesday. He was at the stadium for Makwala’s run and applauded after his main rival crossed the line.
After 48 hours of drama about whether Makwala would be allowed to run any more races at the championships, the IAAF made an exception and sent Makwala out on his own in driving rain chasing a mark of 20.53 seconds.
The Botswanan did it easily, and then got down on the track and produced five pushups to the delight of the crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
Makwala had already qualified for the 400 final when he was a no-show for the 200 heats on Tuesday, suffering from a stomach virus that affected about 30 people at the championships.
Because of the danger to other athletes, the IAAF kept him out of Wednesday’s final of the 400, despite Makwala’s insistence that he was back to full fitness.