Athletics

Van Niekerk on the mend, set to miss 2018 season

Wayde van Niekerk (Gallo Images)
Wayde van Niekerk (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - It seems like South African superstar Wayde van Niekerk might miss the entire 2018 season.

The 25-year-old sustained a knee injury during a celebrity rugby match last October, which forced him out for nine months and saw him miss the Commonwealth Games in April.

Van Niekerk's manager Peet van Zyl has told the Daily Mail that the South African won't make his competitive comeback until 2019.

"Wayde will probably not compete at all this year," said Van Zyl.

"When he comes back he wants to be ready and that means we are not running anywhere this year now. It will probably be 2019."

Earlier this month, Van Niekerk told IOL at the premiere of his new documentary that he will not be rushing his rehabilitation.

"I've got time to do it right, I don't have to rush any process, I don't have to try and put me through any different strain than what it's already going through so I can basically be patient and allow my body to heal on its own," Van Niekerk told IOL.co.za.

"Once the body's healed I can come back a stronger athlete.

"I'm not totally pain-free yet, so until I'm pain-free that's when I'll start taking massive steps towards getting back to competition again," he said.

Following the retirement of Usain Bolt, Van Niekerk was keen to compete in the 100m and 200m as well as the 400 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

However, he may now have to manage his workload more carefully.

Van Niekerk, who hails from central South African city Bloemfontein, won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics in 43.03 seconds, smashing a record set by American Michael Johnson in 1999.

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