Van Niekerk to tackle 200m at World Championships

Wayde van Niekerk Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Wayde van Niekerk

Wayde van Niekerk plans to run both the 400m and the 200m at the World Championships in London in August next year.

The South African said he was feeling confident enough to tackle both races after winning the 400m Olympic gold in a world record 43:03 seconds in Rio last month.

“I am actually considering the double next year‚” Van Niekerk said.

“I will try and get myself strong enough and fit enough for the double. And I might even try the 100m as well.

“For me I am so motivated and I am so inspired – I feel the sky is the limit. I am just going to improve on everything.”

Van Niekerk also says he hopes to emulate Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt one day and win numerous Olympic gold medals.

Moments after winning another 100m Olympic gold medal at the Rio-held global showpiece last month‚ a visibly impressed Bolt congratulated the South African on his 400m world record and gold medal.

The two athletes trained together in Jamaica before the Games and Van Niekerk said after the Jamaican saw his performance in one of their training sessions‚ Bolt predicted that he would break the world record.

“There was a moment when we were together in Jamaica when he said to me he believed I could break the world record in the 400m‚” Van Niekerk said.

“That’s why after the race in Rio he came to me and said ‘I told you, I told you’.”

Van Niekerk said he would always cherish that moment when Bolt congratulated him.

“It was a very special moment‚” Van Niekerk said. “That is a man I look up to in terms of inspiration and motivation. I want to be where he is today.”

In 1996 at the Atlanta Games‚ American legend Michael Johnson claimed gold in the 200m and 400m.

Van Niekerk broke Johnson’s long-standing 17-year-old 400m record — 43:18 seconds — a breathtaking 15 seconds difference.

Van Niekerk said he planned to relax and return to full training after October 19.

Leave a Reply