Former African 400m champion and IAAF World Championships hero Isaac Makwala will have an immediate chance to avenge his 400m final snub in the 2017 IAAF Diamond League final next week Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland.
The August 24th event will see Makwala lock horns with his 400m rivals such as Wayde Van Nierkek, LaShwan Merritt, Steven Gardiner, Vernon Norwood, Tony McQuay and Pavel Maslak.
Merritt is the defending champion but he has been struggling for form recently and Makwala already has a psychological advantage over the American sprinter as he defeated him in one of the 400m heats at the recently ended World Championships in London. Makwala will also be given another chance to duel with Van Nierkek and possibly put to bed the never ending debates of who would have won the 400m world title if both athletes had been in the final in London.
The Tutume native is yet to win a major global title and the Diamond League could be his launching pad. Makwala has done relatively well in humid environments like Switzerland and Spain, this could work well in his favour if his results in the mentioned countries are anything to go by.
Botswana athletics legend Glody Dube sees the final as “anybody’s to win”, he has also urged Makwala to move past the World Championships heartache and be fully focused on the prize. “The Diamond League final race is difficult to call. It is a totally different environment and challenge, he will be running against the top 400m athletes of this season but anything is possible, he has to believe in himself. He has to let go of the IAAF World Championships disappointment and focus on the next competition, it is not the end of the world he has to concentrate on doing his best, I believe he will be ready,” Dube told Gazette Sport.