Wayde van Niekerk, tired after six races in six days, doesn’t see another 200m-400m double in his future.
“The only doubles I think I would consider now is the 100m and 200m,” Van Niekerk said after taking world 400m gold on Tuesday and 200m silver on Thursday in London.
Van Niekerk was beaten by .02 in the half-lap race by Turkish surprise Ramil Guliyev, keeping the South African from becoming the second athlete to sweep the 200m and 400m at a worlds.
Now, it appears Van Niekerk will no longer bid to match Michael Johnson‘s feat from the 1995 Worlds. Though the next global meet is not until 2019, giving the 25-year-old plenty of time to change his mind.
“I’d love to do a bit of a 100m and 200m at Commonwealth [Games] next year, but obviously, I’m going to have to do some 400m as well at the Diamond Leagues and World Challenges and so on,” he said. “But, I think, we haven’t really thought that far. We were focusing on the [200m-400m] double this week. And, I think, after the season we will sit back with coach and decide what we are going to invest our time in.
“If I have to refer to the 400m, I’d love to have that as an individual event. So I’d love to improve my world record again.”
The Commonwealth Games do not include the U.S. or Turkey, where the world 100m and 200m champions reside. And with Usain Bolt retiring, none of the world 100m medalists will be there. His biggest competition could be Andre De Grasse of Canada and Isaac Makwala of Botswana.
Van Niekerk is the only man in history to run sub-44 for the 400m, sub-20 for the 200m and sub-10 for the 100m.
“I’d love to improve all three events, but I will definitely not double up again,” Van Niekerk said on CNN on Friday, after being asked by Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor about his plans for the 2019 Worlds.
He was well off his best times in London, winning the 400m in 43.98 seconds, albeit decelerating near the finish with the race easily won. In Rio, Van Niekerk clocked the world record 43.03.
And in the 200m, Van Niekerk was overtaken by Guliyev in the final straightaway. He recorded 20.11, well off the 19.84 he ran on June 10.
“Mentally, I was ready,” Van Niekerk said. “Physically, it was a really tough challenge. … But we all knew this was going to happen. We all knew this was how the body was going to feel. I think I’ve fought successfully.
“It was the best I could give in this competition. This is just the beginning of what I can achieve as an athlete.”
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