Wayde van Niekerk

Getty Images

Wayde van Niekerk to miss world championships

Leave a comment

Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world 400m champion and world-record holder, will miss next month’s world championships. He has been essentially sidelined from competition for two years since tearing a meniscus and ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match.

“I’m still positive and I’m just taking things day by day, respecting all the calls made by the doctor and respecting my body,” Van Niekerk, who has resumed training, said in a statement. “For now I’m not rushing myself or putting pressure on myself. I’m extremely happy and at peace with where I am.”

Van Niekerk, who ran 43.03 at the Rio Olympics to break Michael Johnson‘s world record, had hoped to return in full this season, but a knee bone bruise set him back.

Van Niekerk made a low-key return at a meet in South Africa on Feb. 28, clocking 47.28 seconds. That’s his lone meet since he won the 400m and took 200m silver at the August 2017 World Championships, according to Tilastopaja.org.

Van Niekerk would have been a clear underdog had he entered worlds in Doha that start in three weeks.

American Michael Norman ran the sixth-fastest 400m in history on April 20, a 43.45 that was also the fastest ever run before the month of June. Van Niekerk has broken 43.45 just once, in that Rio Olympic epic. He and Norman have never raced head-to-head.

It looks like the Rio Olympic 400m silver and bronze medalists will both be absent from worlds.

Grenada’s Kirani James, who has not raced since July 2018 and has been out with Graves’ Disease, must race by Saturday to be eligible for worlds. Representatives for James and Grenada’s federation have not responded to requests for comment on his status.

American LaShawn Merritt has raced once since June 2, 2018,and has not raced a 400m since bowing out of the 2017 World Championships in the semifinals.

The U.S. has the six fastest 400m runners this season.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Christian Coleman beats Justin Gatlin for the first time; Pre Classic recap

Wayde van Niekerk has setback in return from injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world champion and world-record holder at 400m, suffered a knee bone bruise that sets back his international return from 2017 knee surgery five or six weeks.

Van Niekerk, who has raced once since the summer of 2017, is still hopeful of defending his world title in about three months in Doha.

“It’s very disappointing as I probably pushed myself too hard, but I’m now working towards the goal patiently,” he said in a press release. “I will review my competition schedule with my team, and together with my coach we will decide where and when to race.”

Van Niekerk was scheduled to return this summer, namely at a Diamond League meet in London in three weeks. A representative for van Niekerk said that he withdrew from the meet. Van Niekerk’s account also tweeted that he “won’t be participating in the upcoming Diamond League events.” The Diamond League regular season runs through Aug. 24.

Van Niekerk has a bye into worlds as a defending champion. Two months after the 2017 Worlds, he tore a meniscus and an ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match. Van Niekerk made a low-key return at a meet in South Africa on Feb. 28, clocking 47.28 seconds. His world record from the Rio Olympics is 43.03.

During his absence, American Michael Norman emerged as the world’s top 400m runner (also in the absence of 2008 Olympic champ LaShawn Merritt and 2012 gold medalist Kirani James). Norman, 21, ran the sixth-fastest lap in history on April 20, a 43.45 that was also the fastest 400m ever run before the month of June.

Van Niekerk’s best time since Rio was 43.62. He has never raced Norman head to head.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Christian Coleman beats Justin Gatlin for the first time; Pre Classic recap

Wayde van Niekerk sets first international race since 2017

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wayde van Niekerk will return to international competition this summer for the first time since the August 2017 World Championships.

He is entered in a Diamond League meet in London from July 20-21. A rep for Van Niekerk would not say whether he will race elsewhere before then.

Van Niekerk tore a meniscus and an ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match on Oct. 7, 2017, requiring surgery.

The Olympic and world 400m champion made a low-key return at a domestic meet Feb. 22, winning a race in 47.28 seconds. His world record from Rio is 43.03.

Van Niekerk attempted a 400m-200m double at the 2017 Worlds, earning gold in the former and silver in the latter.

That appears very unlikely this year, not only because of the injury return but also because the 400m heats and 200m final at worlds are on the same day. Van Niekerk also doubted he would double again in the 400m and 200m in post-2017 Worlds interviews.

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.

During his absence, American Michael Norman has emerged as the world’s top 400m runner. Norman, 21, ran the sixth-fastest lap in history on April 20, a 43.45 that was also the fastest 400m ever run before the month of June.

Van Niekerk’s best time since Rio was 43.62. He has never raced Norman head to head.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Caster Semenya appeals testosterone rule again with defiant statement