Makwala maintains top global spot despite early struggles

A sixth place finish in this past weekend’s IAAF World Challenge in Rabat, Morocco has not affected Isaac Makwala’s standing in the world’s top ranked 400m athletes. The African champion is still ranked the third best 400m runner in the world.

Makwala has been battling to regain full fitness this year, he is yet to win an individual race so far in 2015. The Botswana track star finished in sixth place as he saw perennial rival Kirani James win the 400m contest.

As a result, James has maintained his spot as the world’s highest ranked 400m athlete. He is followed by American sprinter LaShawn Merritt who is second by virtue of last year’s exploits. Merritt has not participated in many races this year but accumulated enough points to challenge James for the top spot.
Makwala’s rivals will be expected to continue pushing the African champion this year. He previously told this publication that he is targetting, at least, a bronze medal at this year’s IAAF World Championships where he will face James and Merritt.

Gazette Sport has observed that Makwala’s struggles have been brought about by his starting positions in this year’s races.  In most races he has been placed in lanes 5, 6 and 7; the mentioned lanes are notoriously difficult for athletes as they give the upper hand to those in the first few lanes.

Such starting positions are difficult given the curving movement that comes with being in those lanes, the curving movement tends to slow an athlete’s speed as they sprint towards the final 100m and 200m laps of the race. His season best was a 45.10 clocking in the Jamaica International Meet where he finished fifth.