Watching Wayde Van Niekerk set the WR in 2016 was mind boggling! I recall seeing Wayde Van Niekerk (2015 WC), LaShawn Merrit (WC 2009, 2013) and Kirani James (2011 WC, Olympics 2012), all together at 300 meters.
Wayde Van Niekerk, photo by Mike Deering / The Shoe Addicts
In the final one hundred meters, the tall South African flew down the track. I was watching the event from the very top row of the Engenhao Stadium, and I could see Van Niekerk eating up the track. Wayde was focused, knees lifting, arms driving. The guy was in agony, but, all of those repeats had reinforced the neuromuscular loop. Wayde Van Niekerk drove through finish, and was both shocked and pleased, setting a new WR of 43.03. Van Niekerk was the first South African to win the 400m title in 96 years!
Kirani James took silver in 43.76 and LaShawn Merritt was the bronze medalist in 43.85. Wayde Van Niekerk had taken the gold from lane 8, having no one to run against. The South African had run blind, and set a WR, something many thought would not happen in our lifetimes.
In 2016, Wayde Van Niekerk became the only man to break 10 seconds for the 100 meters, 20 seconds for 200 meters, and 44 seconds for 400 meters. In 2017, and his 30.81 for 300 meters, breaking the WR of 30.85 set by Micheal Johnson. This gave Wayde another unique record: adding to being the only man to break 10 seconds for the 100 meters, 20 seconds for 200 meters, and 44 seconds for 400 meters now adds only man to breaks 31 seconds for 300 meters as well!
In 2017, Wayde Van Niekerk won the 400m and took silver medal at 200 meters.
The big question now, can he come back?
PRETORIA (RSA): On the comeback from a career threatening ACL injury, Wayde van Niekerk believes he is still capable of further improving his world record of 43.03. “I’m someone that’s stuck on going sub-43 and with that I want to improve my 100m and 200m times. I believe I’ve got the abilities to be competitive internationally in all three events,” he said. Van Niekerk made a low-key return to competition early this season, clocking 10.10 for 100m and 20.31 for 200m in Bloemfontein prior to South Africa imposing a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Luckily I have a gym set up at home. I’ve got quite a technically advanced treadmill so it challenges me in ways that become quite difficult,” he said. From World Athletics.
Leave a Reply