Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world 400m champion and world-record holder, is expected to be sidelined until at least April with a torn meniscus and ACL suffered in a celebrity tag rugby match on Oct. 7.
“His coach wasn’t happy about that [it happening at a tag rugby match],” Van Niekerk’s agent said Tuesday. Van Niekerk is famously coached by Ans Botha, a great-grandmother.
Van Niekerk is undergoing surgery Tuesday after getting married this past weekend.
He is out through at least the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in early April.
The Commonwealth Games are the biggest meet for many countries next year, including Van Niekerk’s South Africa.
Van Niekerk, after taking gold and silver in the 400m and 200m at words in August, spoke of potentially trying the 100m-200m double at Commonwealths.
“I was looking forward to competing in the 100m and 200m events in Gold Coast, and participating at the national championships in March, so this is unfortunate timing,” Van Niekerk said in a statement Tuesday. “But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals, will make this process as smooth as possible.
“I have faith that‚ God willing‚ I’ll be able to race again later next year.
“Full recovery is going to be crucial‚ so I’ll be patient‚ but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible.”
The U.S. is not part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Instead, the notable countries competing at the Games are Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and the nations that make up Great Britain at the Olympics, led by England.
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Don't get too excited. Wayde Van Niekerk is not turning to rugby! It's a celeb tag rugby match at Newlands, ahead of the Springboks vs All Blacks game featuring our own coaches Neil Powell and Paul Stephen Delport and junior high jump champ Breyton Poole (who I mistook as a security guard at #Newlands on Saturday!) (Pic: Roger Sedres)