On Tuesday night, Wayde van Niekerk took gold in the men’s 400m final at the IAAF World Championships in London. His dream of winning both the 200m and the 400m may be about to come true…
Starting in lane six, the 25-year-old coasted ahead of the rest of the field to take gold, in a time of 43.98, followed by Steven Gardiner (44.41) and Abdalelah Haroun (44.48) with bronze.
Van Niekerk took on a formidable field which included Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas, Jamaica’s Nathon Allen and Demish Gaye, Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe, Qatari’s Abdalelah Haroun and American Fred Kerley.
Botswana’s Isaac Makwala was noted to be a leading challenger to van Niekerk, but unfortunately had to withdraw from the race due to a virus.
The question on everyone’s lips is: will Van Niekerk win the men’s 200m final on Thursday night too? If he does, he will become the second man in history to score the double of the men’s 200m and 400m, first achieved by Michael Johnson in 1995 – only this time, perhaps in record-breaking style.
Despite suffering back problems that threatened to derail his winter training, Van Niekerk has continued to break records: the world and Olympic 400m champion is the only sprinter in history to have run faster than 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m.
And Van Niekerk has already begun to follow in Johnson’s footsteps: at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in July, he broke the 21-year-old men’s 400m record (43.66), set by Johnson in 1996. Coupled with Tuesday’s victory, Van Niekerk may have all the confidence he needs to win the 200m men’s final on Thursday night.
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Wayde’s Next Race: Men’s 200m
Semi-Final: Wednesday, 9 August (21:55)
Final: Thursday, 10 August (22:50)