Isaac Makwala Quarantined Due To Illness Then Qualifies For 200m Final In 48 Hours
Isaac Makwala has experienced a whirlwind of emotions in the past 48 hours at the IAAF World Championships in London.
The 30-year-old sprinter from Botswana was forced to withdraw from the 200 meter semifinals and 400 meter final after falling ill on Sunday. A virus was reportedly spreading among the athletes at one of the official hotels and several participants scratched from qualifying rounds.
The IAAF, track and field's governing body, enforced a quarantine period because Makwala reported vomiting on Monday. Makwala was insistent that he was prepared to run in the 400 meter final but was barred from entering the stadium on Tuesday afternoon. The IAAF stood firm on its medical rules and did not allow him to compete.
The 48-hour period ended on Wednesday and the IAAF allowed Makwala to run in the semifinals alone. Makwala needed to hit the qualifying time of 20.53 or faster in order to advance to the semifinals with other competitors. Running alone in Lane 7 was no problem as he cruised around the wet track to a finishing time of 20.20 seconds. After crossing the finish line, Makwala dropped to the ground and did a few pushups.
About two hours later, Makwala finished second in his respective heat of the semifinals with a time of 20.14 to advance to the final.
"Yeah, I'm running with anger," Makwala told the BBC after the race. "I still want my 400. That's my race. 400 is my race."
He now has a chance to medal in the 200 meters after missing out on an opportunity in the 400 meters. South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk won gold in the 400 meters with ease but many expected Makwala to be in contention as well. Makwala was just narrowly beat by van Niekerk at the Monaco Diamond League race last month. Van Niekerk will also be in the 200 meter final as he tries to become the first man to win the 200 and 400 since Michael Johnson accomplished the feat at the 1995 championships in Gothenburg.