Wayde to go! Zille wants to rename stadium after 400m hero Van Niekerk

Gold medallist Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa poses with his medal Picture: DYLAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS
Gold medallist Wayde van Niekerk poses with his medal

Wayde Van Niekerk has a world record and an Olympic gold medal‚ and now Western Cape Premier Helen Zille wants him to have immortality.

Zille has written to Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille suggesting that Green Point Athletics Stadium be renamed after Van Niekerk‚ who was born in Kraaifontein‚ in the city’s northern suburbs‚ and went to school in Bellville.

Van Niekerk won the men’s 400m final at the Rio Olympics‚ breaking the 17-year-old record of 43.18 seconds set by Michael Johnson during the 1999 World Championships.

“Mr Van Niekerk flew South Africa’s flag high and did the nation proud‚” Zille said on Wednesday.

In 2015‚ he won the 400m final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing‚ she said‚ and he was the first person to run faster than 10 seconds for 100m‚ 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m.

“These are extraordinary feats‚ especially for a 24-year-old university student. I believe it would be appropriate to honour Mr Van Niekerk by renaming the current Green Point Athletics Stadium after him. He has not only done the country proud‚ but his home city and province.

“The renaming of the stadium would not only serve as a reminder of his incredible story‚ but as an inspiration to many other young people – demonstrating that anything is possible‚ with the right combination of discipline‚ hard work and dedication”.

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