Sprinter Anaso Jobodwana is confident he can earn a medal at the Rio Olympics, though he remains locked in a race against time as he tries to shake off a pelvic injury less than three months ahead of the Games.
Jobodwana confirmed on Wednesday he had parted ways with British coach Stuart McMillan and abandoned his training base in Phoenix, Arizona, with the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) sending him to Durban to work with Dr Kevin Suddan at the Prime Institute high performance and sports medicine centre.
“I’m being very cautious, but I think I’m in the final stages of rehab,” said the 23-year-old speedster, who has not raced since picking up the pelvic injury in the 100m heats at the African Games in Brazzaville eight months ago.
“I see the doctor every day and we talk about my concerns, but every time I have been on the track I’ve built confidence because I’ve come off the track feeling good and I wake up the next day without repercussions from the training,” he said.
“The doctor said to me yesterday that I was in a good place to move up to a higher intensity.”
Jobodwana was sidelined for the entire 2014 season due to a sports hernia, which required an operation, but he bounced back last year to earn the 200m bronze medal at the World Championships in Beijing, clocking a national record of 19.87 seconds.
Having gained plenty experience at international level since reaching the half-lap final as a teenager at the 2012 London Olympics, he believed he could hit the ground running in Rio, even if he was forced to run his first race of 2016 in the opening round at the Games.
Ideally, however, he hoped to turn out in at least two top-flight league meetings in Europe in July, in order to sharpen up before the multi-sport showpiece.
“I can replicate races in my mind in training, so by the time I get to Rio I’m not stepping into an arena where I’m out of my league.
“Coming from world champs, I know I’m capable of doing it.”
Jobodwana said he was in the process of finding a new coach, and though he had started discussions with a potential mentor, negotiations were ongoing.