ISSUE 20

Anaso Jabodwana Joins Legacy Hotels & Resorts

When the 2012 Summer Olympics hosted in London rolled around there was a buzz around the name Anaso Jobodwana. But who was this young, just turned 21 year old? What was he doing at the Olympics? Furthermore how did he make it to the final of the much-coveted Men’s 200m sprint along with the Jamaican greats such as Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir.

 
At that time, not many people, even in South Africa, knew much about this deeply private young man Anaso Jobodwana except that at the age of 21, this young super star, born in Aberdeen (King Williams Town) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa,had against all odds reached the final after running a personal best of 20.13 seconds. 
 
But the stars weren’t entirely aligned for the young man on that day in 2012. Or perhaps it was the fact that he was in a pool of some of the finest veteran runners, much older and more experienced than him, that offered him the perfect platform to learn and grow as opposed to win a medal. 
 
In fact he finished eighth, and reporters on the day remarked about just how calm he looked “after rubbing shoulders with the world’s fastest men it was clear the sprinter from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape had a bright future ahead of him”.
 
In 2013 he further impressed with successful runs at the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia where he “bagged” the 100m and 200m races. In 2014, however, he fell off the radar as he spent the majority of the season recovering from a hernia operation, which also saw him miss the opportunity to run at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
 
Anaso’s coach Stuart McMillan was always convinced that this young man had it in him to run a sub 20 second race and shortly after this achievement, he did just that as he ran a time of 19.87 seconds at the Texas Relays in the United States in March. Again, his modesty was evident as he spoke to a sports24.com reporter and was quoted as saying: “It (the win) means that I’m putting together a good race plan and that my work in training is being translated onto the track which is the most important thing.”
 
In May (2015), Anaso smashed the South African 200m record of Morné Nagel, a 13-year-old mark of 20.11, with an impressive 20.06 run at the Cayman Invitational track and field event. In a press report on the event, when asked if he knew he had it in him that day, Anaso was reported as saying: "Yes I actually did feel like I had it in my legs."
 
So with this rise to fame it came as no surprise when he took bronze in the men’s 200m final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August. Again, meeting the likes of Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt, who on the day was said to be “in a class of his own”, posting a winning time of 19.55 with American Justin Gatlin taking silver in 19.74.
 
Anaso had to have the run of his life to get his medal, just beating Panama’s Alonso Edward, who posted the same time of 19.87, with the final result being decided in a photo-finish.
 
This was yet another South African record, where the now 23 year old shaved off 0.07 seconds off the newly crowned 400m world champion Wayde van Niekerk’s mark.
 
Modesty shines through his interviews and in a flash interview with the young man by IAAF.org, just after the race he said: “It was a rough season and before this I ran 20.20, so I just told myself that I was gonna go and try for the best. It always feels great to run against those guys. I started to run in 2008 and running against him (Bolt) always gives you some energy.”
 
Where will his career go? Who is to know but the sky is the limit for young Anaso who is proving that good athletes just get better with age. 
 
Today, Legacy is proud to have such a fine young man as an ambassador to its brand.
 
 
Full name: Anaso Jobodwana 
Gender: Male 
Height: 6-1.5 (187 cm) 
Weight: 157 lbs (71 kg) 
Born: July 30, 1992 in Aberdeen, Eastern Cape, South Africa 
Country: RSA South Africa 
Sport: Athletics