Isaac Makwala to run 200m time trial after missing heats due to norovirus

The Botswanan's World Championship story has taken another astonishing twist.

Isaac Makwala to run 200m time trial after missing heats due to norovirus
The Makwala vs van Niekerk showdown could still go ahead (photo: Getty Images/Michael Steele)

Isaac Makwala will run a 200m time trial on his own at 6:40pm this evening, just two hours before the semi-finals are due to begin.

Who should decide if Makwala is fit to race?

Makwala was an unexpected absentee from Monday's 200m heats before an astonishing news story broke before he was due to compete in Tuesday's 400m final.

It was revealed that Makwala had been suffering from a norovirus bug that has affected around 30 staff and athletes in one of the hotels that some of the World Championship athletes and staff are staying at.

Makwala revealed he was "ready to run" despite being barred from a showdown with Wayde van Niekerk in the 400m final. Despite Makwala turning up at the London Stadium and duly being sent back to the hotel, the IAAF stuck by their decision "to protect other athletes" due to the advice of Public Health England that 48 hours should be allowed for the stomach bug to settle.

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From going to home to the possibility of a medal

An expectant London Stadium crowd were duly thwarted van Niekerk and Makwala going toe-to-toe in the 400m final as the South African glided to victory in somewhat of anti-climax. A solemn van Niekerk admitted after the race that he "would give his medal" to Makwala if he could.

With Makwala's World Championships seemingly over, the Botswana Federation threw one last roll of the dice with a written request to allow Makwala to complete a 200m time trial after missing the heats. With his 48 hours in quarantine completed at 2pm, the IAAF decided to grant the request.

In a statement they explained, "following a medical examination which has declared him [Makwala] fit to compete, we have agreed under our existing rules that assuming he makes the qualification time, he will run in the 200m semi-final round this evening."

Makwala has a time of 20.54 seconds, currently held by fastest loser David Lima, to beat from lane seven. Yet as the fastest man around half the track in 2017 at 19.77 seconds, the Botswanan is expected to keep his medal dreams alive this evening.

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