LONDON, Sporting Alert – After missing the 400 metres showdown with Wayde van Niekerk at the IAAF World Championships at the top of the week, Isaac Makwala gets a second against the South African.
A stomach virus kept Makwala from running in the 200m heats and the 400 final on Tuesday night, even though he insisted he was healthy to compete.
The Botswana sprinter was given a second chance on Wednesday to earn a place in the 200m semi-finals, but needed to come through a solo time-trial.
He easily got the time he needed from the heat and then finished second in his semi-final race to set up a well-anticipated clash in the final on Thursday.
In the absence of defending champion and world record holder Usain Bolt, who won the men’s 200m at the last four IAAF World Championships, Van Niekerk started as the pre-race favourite.
However, the 400m champion only qualified as one of the fastest losers after struggling to third place in his semis.
Van Niekerk won the men’s 400m title in 43.98 seconds on Tuesday and he is hoping to become the first man since American legend Michael Johnson to pull off the difficult 200/400 double.
The 200m remains wide open after former world 100m champion Yohan Blake from Jamaica, the second fastest man ever behind Bolt over the distance, failed to get out of his semis.