No stopping Wayde

2016-03-16 06:00
WAYDE VAN NIEKERK Photo: Charl Devenish

WAYDE VAN NIEKERK Photo: Charl Devenish

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ON Saturday (12/03), South African Wayde van Niekerk continued to conquer the world as he became the first athlete to run a sub-10 seconds for 100 metres, 20 seconds for 200 m and 44 seconds for 400 m, a feat confirmed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Competing at the Free State Championships in Bloemfontein, Van Niekerk ran a personal best of 9.98 seconds for the 100 m event, beating his previous best by 0.47 seconds.

The 23-year-old Van Niekerk clocked 9.98 seconds in his home of Bloemfontein to qualify for the 100 m sprint at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games. This incredible milestone places him in the big league in the athletics world.

Van Niekerk’s achievement saw him continue from where he left last year when he clinched the 400 m World title in August. With this achievement the former Grey College learner became South Africa’s first world sprint champion as he stormed around the one-lap race in 43.48 seconds at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. Van Niekerk became the fourth-fastest athlete in the event and the quickest non-American athlete.

Van Niekerk specialises in the 400 m event. He apparently has not competed in a 100 m race since his junior days, so his previous personal best of 10.45, also set in Bloemfontein in 2011, was due for some serious revision.

Van Niekerk took the crowd in attendance and the world by surprise competing in the 100 m sprint – and evidently surprised himself by unleashing a sterling performance. His rich vein of form sees him continue to reign supreme in the world athletics championships.

Van Niekerk became the second South African sprinter last week to break the 10 second barrier for the 100 m after Akani Simbine, who set a national record of 9.96 in Pretoria on Tuesday, 8 March.

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