Wayde could break SA record

2014-06-25 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — SA 200 metre champion Wayde van Niekerk could break the South African record over this distance at the Grand Prix athletics meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, tomorrow.

Van Niekerk recently broke the national record in the 400 m — which was held jointly by Arnaud Malherbe and Hendrik Mokganyetsi — in the United States and some predict the Free State student can now also improve the SA record of 20:11 over 200 m, which is held by Morné Nagel.

Speaking from Cremona, Italy, where Van Niekerk is dodging the Free State’s frosts, his coach Ans Botha yesterday said the athlete will not specifically target the South African record in the 200 m.

Botha said Van Niekerk was only running this distance to supplement his 400 m training. He is also saving himself for the next meetings in Luasanne and Luzern, which will see stronger athletes in action.

“We are, therefore, not pressuring Wayde to better the record, but if it happens, we will obviously be very happy,” Botha said.

His recent times, however, have experts predicting Van Niekerk will break the SA 200 m record of 20:11 tomorrow. Nagel had set the record in 2002 in the thin air of Germiston.

Botha said he was just very glad Van Niekerk was without injury, as it made it that much easier for the athlete to excel.

Van Niekerk will use Cremona as a base to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, later in August.

“It is just too cold to practice in Bloemfontein. After Glasgow, Wade will also compete in Morocco, then we will return to South Africa in August, said Botha.

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