Wayde eyes the double in London

Wayde van Niekerk will get the chance to run the 400m and 200m double at the world championships in London this year after the IAAF‚ the world governing body for athletics‚ agreed to alter the event schedule.

Van Niekerk‚ the 400m Olympic and world champion‚ had said he wanted to double up in the shorter sprint in a bid to become only the second man in history to win both titles after American legend Michael Johnson in 1995.

Van Niekerk broke Johnson’s 17-year-old 43.18sec 400m world record at the Rio Games when he won the gold medal in 43.03.

The men’s 200m heats at this year’s world championships were initially going to be held a little more than two hours before the 400m final on Tuesday August 8. But the IAAF announced late on Wednesday that it had changed the heats to the day before.

That means Van Niekerk will run the 400m heats on Saturday morning (August 5) and the semifinals on Sunday evening (August 6). Instead of a rest day‚ he will do the 200m heats on August 7 and then have a little more than 24 hours to recover for the 400m final.

The 200m semifinals will be on August 9 with the final slated for Thursday August 10. The men’s 200m is one of three changes made to the world championship schedule.

The IAAF statement on the change reads: “Following requests from the athletics federations of The Bahamas and South Africa to amend the timetable to better allow for a 200m/400m doubling oppor tunity‚ council has approved changes to the timetable of IAAF World Championships London 2017 (4 to 13 August).”

These are:

  • Men’s 200m round 1 moved from day 5 (August 8) to day 4 (August 7);
  • Women’s 200m round 1 moved from day 6 (August 9) to day 5 (August 8);
  • Women’s 3 000m steeplechase round 1 moved from day 5 (August 8) to day 6 (August 9).

IAAF president Sebastian Coe commented: “This summer’s world championships are close to my hear t.

“Twelve years ago London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. That decision led to the building of the Olympic Park and the stadium, and a decision to keep the track after the Games.

“This in turn meant that London could bid for and host this summer’s championships. With just four months to go until competition begins‚ I look at the success story which is Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and am grateful to the LOC and so many other people for believing in and delivering this extraordinary legacy.

“I see a vibrant community space‚ the former athletes’ village redeveloped into housing and a series of world-class sporting venues being used by Londoners on a daily basis and hosting international sporting events. This was the dream we all had over a decade ago.

“I am also delighted that the council today approved the 200m and 400m double. These double headers create great excitement among both athletes and fans.”—TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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