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A runner who had a stomach bug and was barred from the World Athletics Championships has made a triumphant comeback, qualifying for the final.

Isaac Makwala was given a last-minute chance to race again after his situation drew sympathy from fans and commentators.

The Botswana athlete ran a solo time trial, easily beating the 20.53 seconds target needed to progress to the 200m semi-final.

He sped around the sodden London track alone, crossing the line in 20.20 seconds to huge cheers, then immediately hit the floor and performed push-ups for the crowd.

Makwala showed he was fighting fit by launching into some push-ups

Image: Makwala showed he was fighting fit by launching into some push-ups

Makwala had been banned from competing in the 400m final just 24 hours earlier for staying in a team hotel where an outbreak of the norovirus occurred.

He was given permission to run by IAAF chief executive Oliver Gers in a letter sent on Wednesday afternoon after the time he needed to spend in quarantine had elapsed.

Mr Gers wrote: “Following your request, we are delighted to confirm that the IAAF technical delegates have reviewed your case and will allow Isaac Makwala to run his 200m heat this evening…

“The decision has taken into consideration that his quarantine period was over at 2pm today (as verified by your letter) and was subject to being cleared to complete following an examination by the IAAF Medical Delegate…

“We look forward to seeing Isaac on the track tonight.”

IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe had also intervened.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: IAAF president Sebastian Coe looks on during day one of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 4, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)

Image: Lord Coe said he had ‘massive sympathy’ for the Botswanan runner

“No one from the IAAF is showing a lack of empathy with Isaac, far from it in fact,” said the organiser of the London 2012 Olympics.

“We have massive empathy for him as he worked so hard to get here. I know this from personal experience.

“In 1986 I was sent home from competing at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh with some other athletes because of a bronchial infection.”

Makwala made it through the 200m semi-final later that evening, coming second in his heat.

He was beaten by American athlete Isiah Young. British runner Mitchell-Blake came in third.

Makwala will now compete in Thursday evening’s final.

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