Wayde begins rehabilitation

Touch rugby injury keeps Van Niekerk from his true calling

Wayde van Niekerk grimaces after hurting his knee during the Celebrity TAG match between the Aden Thomas All Stars and the Carl Wastie Invitational side in Cape Town last year
Wayde van Niekerk grimaces after hurting his knee during the Celebrity TAG match between the Aden Thomas All Stars and the Carl Wastie Invitational side in Cape Town last year
Image: Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images

Olympic and world 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk flew to Doha on Tuesday to step up rehabilitation with respected sports medicine physician Dr Louis Holtzhausen.

Coach Ans Botha said Van Niekerk‚ who missed out on the recent Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast of Australia‚ was approaching the critical part of his recovery plan from a knee injury he suffered while playing touch rugby last year.

“We are flying out to Doha to see Dr Louis (Holtzhausen) and the medical team and he will start intensive rehabilitation in two weeks’ time‚” Botha said.

“He will come back from Doha to continue with the process for six weeks here in South Africa and then return there for one last time.”

Botha‚ who was honoured with the prestigious Coaching Achievement Award by the IAAF last year‚ said they were targeting the end of June or beginning of July for Van Niekerk to return to competitive running.
“It will only be after his second visit to Doha in a few months’ time that we will have a good idea of how far he is in terms of returning to competitive running again.

“It is a bit tricky to say when he will be able to run again because you can’t really put a time to it but I hope we will be able to start around the end of June or beginning of July‚” he said.

There is widely held belief that Van Niekerk may never be the same when he returns to competitive action‚ but Botha said the episode had helped him grow as a person. “I don’t agree that he won’t be the same‚” Botha said. “We are positive because I know that he has grown a lot during this period of the injury and that can only be positive for him.

“If your mind is strong and you are positive‚ nothing can stop you and Wayde is that kind of character. “He is a strong-minded person. “When he comes back‚ we are going to be working non-stop because we will preparing for the latter stages of the Diamond League‚ the World Championships next year and the Olympic Games in 2022.” – TimesLIVE

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