VAN NIEKERK SHORTLISTED FOR IAAF AWARD

World champion Wayde van Niekerk has been recognised once again for another incredible season, after being included among three men’s finalists for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Awards.
His 2017 campaign included two medals at the World Championships in London in August and a 300m world best of 30.81 in Ostrava in June.
Van Niekerk also went unbeaten in the 400m event, successfully defending his global title.
“It is such an honour to be recognised as a finalist again,” he said.
“Just to be mentioned alongside such amazing athletes is special. Congratulations and good luck to my fellow finalists.”
Last year Van Niekerk was also among the finalists, after winning the Olympic 400m title and breaking the world record, but he lost out to Jamaican legend Usain Bolt who earned his third straight Olympic treble.
This year he is up against British distance runner Mo Farah, who secured 10 000m gold and 5 000m silver at the World Championships, and world high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar.
The winner will be revealed at the annual IAAF awards ceremony in Monaco on November 24.
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NATIONAL YOUTH RECORD FOR POOLE

Getting his summer season off to a brilliant start, high jump prodigy Breyton Poole entered the record books with a personal best leap in Cape Town on Saturday.
The 17-year-old athlete, who had set his previous career best of 2.24m to win the world youth title in Nairobi earlier this year, went one centimetre higher at the Western Province Athletics open meeting, clearing the bar at 2.25m.
With this performance, he equalled the 18-year-old national youth record held by former world champion Jacques Freitag.
He also climbed to a tie for seventh position in the South African senior all-time list, as well as a share of 12th place in the world all-time rankings in his age group.
With two years ahead of him in the U-20 age division, Poole is already within sight of Freitag’s national junior record of 2.31m, with only two SA athletes (Freitag and Casper Labuschagne) having previously jumped higher than 2.25m at junior level.
“Breyton has again proved he is one of SA’s most exciting track and field prospects, with this record highlighting his immense potential,” said Peet van Zyl of In-Site Athlete Management.
“Already in the best form of his life at this early stage of the season, if he can build on his rapid progress, I think we can expect more fireworks from him next year.”
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VAN NIEKERK TO UNDERGO KNEE SURGERY

After delivering consistent, spectacular performances over the last few seasons, international sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk will take an injury-enforced break from racing in the first half of the 2018 campaign.
The 400m world record holder has arrived in the United States where he will undergo a medical procedure at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.
Van Niekerk, the world and Olympic one-lap champion, picked up medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, as well as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), while participating in a recent celebrity touch rugby match in Cape Town.
Following surgery, he will undergo rehabilitation for six months in Vail, Doha and South Africa, and will therefore be unavailable to represent South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April.
“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.
“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.”

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WAYDE’S LIFE STORY TO INSPIRE THE NATION

World record holder Wayde van Niekerk is excited to tell his story, in a documentary which is set to be released in collaboration with T-Systems early next year.
The information and communication technology company, which enjoys a long-term partnership with the global sprint sensation, started filming last year, which coincided with Van Niekerk’s Olympic victory in a world record 43.03 seconds in Rio.
“It was good timing, having something this massive, a milestone in my life, shared to the world,” Van Niekerk said at the announcement of the film, which tells his life story.
“I’m excited for this journey and this documentary to be launched.”
Telling Van Niekerk’s inspirational biography, from premature birth to Olympic glory, the first clip of the documentary was viewed at a T-Systems launch this week.
The completed film will be aired in February next year.
“It’s such an honour to have a story that a company like T-Systems can use to inspire,” Van Niekerk said.
“It’s a privilege to share my story and hopefully it can be an inspirational story to the country.”
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WAYDE VAN NIEKERK INSPIRES SPRINGBOKS

South African athletics star Wayde van Niekerk presented the Springboks with their match day jerseys on the eve of their Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein.

Van Niekerk, the 400m world record holder and Olympic champion, delivered a short and inspirational message to the team on Friday morning.

“We as sportspeople sometimes don’t realise the impact we have on ordinary people,” the soft spoken athletics star said afterwards.

“South Africans are sports loving people and they look to the Springboks for inspiration. I am a huge Springbok fan myself and to find myself amongst these guys in the middle of the Springbok team room was just an unbelievable and humbling experience.

“My short message to them was to go out there and play the game to the best of their ability – they have done their homework and they know what to do,” said Van Niekerk. His coach, Tannie Ans Botha has the honour of being the SA flag bearer tomorrow.

Eben Etzebeth will again lead the Springboks on Saturday and said the Boks were absolutely delighted to spend some time with Van Niekerk.

“Wayde is an inspiration for us and he is such a humble person. So to receive our match jerseys from him was a huge honour and privilege,” said Etzebeth.

Van Niekerk, who lives in Bloemfontein where he completed his high school career, was also included in the traditional Springbok team photograph after the customary jersey presentation ceremony.

The match at the Toyota Stadium, which kicks off at 17h05, is the Springboks’ penultimate fixture of the 2017 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

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EDENGLEN HIGH UNVEILS AKANI SIMBINE STAND

Local sprint king Akani Simbine was given a special surprise by his alma mater on Wednesday morning, when it was revealed that a stand had been named after him at Edenglen High School in Edenvale.
Simbine, who reached the 100m final at the 2016 Olympic Games and 2017 World Championships, was not aware that he would receive the honour until he arrived at the school for a visit.
The 23-year-old national record holder was greeted by pupils before signing autographs and posing for photographs while sitting on the ‘Akani Simbine Stand’.
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VAN NIEKERK OUT OF ZURICH DIAMOND LEAGUE

World champion Wayde van Niekerk has withdrawn from the men’s 400m race at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on August 24, due to a recurring back injury.

Van Niekerk, also the Olympic champion and world record holder, has had to manage the niggle throughout the season, overcoming the setback to retain his one-lap crown and take the 200m silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in London, England last week.

“This injury has plagued me throughout the summer and I had to receive treatment from Dr Muller-Wohlfahrt,” Van Niekerk said.

“Obviously you don’t want your competitors to know if you are struggling in any way, so I’ve kept it quiet until this point.”

Returning to training this week after his successful campaign at the World Championships, the versatile 25-year-old sprinter felt the back injury flare up again.

After consultation with coach Ans Both, it was decided to avoid the risk of competing again at this late stage of the season, as a precaution in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April.

“I am bitterly disappointed I won’t be competing in the last Diamond League event of the season as I haven’t won a Diamond League Final before and was hoping to get my hands on one of the fiercely contested Diamond trophies, but we feel it is in my best interest to recover fully, in order to ensure I can take on the 2018 season in good health and at full strength,” Van Niekerk said.

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SEMENYA BAGS FIFTH IN-SITE MEDAL

Caster Semenya ended In-Site’s campaign at the IAAF World Championships on Sunday by racking up another international title, on the 10th and final day of the biennial showpiece in London, England.
Lining up as the pre-race favourite, after stunning her opponents by claiming the 1 500m bronze medal earlier in the week, Semenya made no mistakes in the 800m final.
Producing a well-judged tactical effort, she delivered a blinding kick down the home straight to win gold in 1:55.16, breaking her own South African record of 1:55.27 which had been set in Monaco last month.
“I’m lucky to have a great support team who work with me. Full credit to them,” said the Olympic gold medallist and former world champion.
“Another world title is a fantastic honour for me and I love to do it here in London.
“The crowd are so welcoming to me and it makes it feel even more special.”
It was a superb championships for In-Site athletes, who contributed five of South Africa’s record six medals.
Wayde van Niekerk retained his 400m global crown and bagged silver in a hard-fought 200m final, while Ruswahl Samaai earned bronze in the long jump contest.
“Well done to all our athletes who competed in London, and congratulations to all the medallists. They have delivered stunning all-round performances,” said Peet van Zyl of In-Site Athlete Management.
“We are tremendously proud of what they have achieved here, and we believe they have the ability to reach even greater heights as they continue to challenge for well-earned places among the global track and field elite.”

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SEMENYA GEARS UP FOR ANOTHER MEDAL CHARGE


Caster Semenya will line up as the title favourite on Sunday, after cruising through the women’s 800m semifinals on Friday evening, on day eight of the IAAF World Championships in London.
The Olympic champion, who had already bagged the 1 500m bronze medal four days earlier, dominated her race in the penultimate round by taking the win in 1:58.90, and she progressed as the fastest qualifier for the final.
“The main thing for us now is that we have a strong field, but we’ll just try to relax as much as we can so we can do better in the final,” Semenya said.
Though she was expected to deliver another medal on the last day of competition, however, the Olympic champion remained cautious and was not getting ahead of herself.
“You can’t tell much, you can’t underestimate your opponents, you can’t calculate or measure them,” she said.
“It’s just about trying to enjoy your race.”
Gena Lofstrand put up another brave fight, after stunning her opponents to reach the two-lap semifinals, but she was unable to progress further after finishing eighth in her race in 2:03.67.
With two days of competition remaining, In-Site athletes had contributed four of the South African team’s record five medals at the global showpiece.

Caster Semenya will line up as the title favourite on Sunday, after cruising through the women’s 800m semifinals on Friday evening, on day eight of the IAAF World Championships in London.
The Olympic champion, who had already bagged the 1 500m bronze medal four days earlier, dominated her race in the penultimate round by taking the win in 1:58.90, and she progressed as the fastest qualifier for the final.
“The main thing for us now is that we have a strong field, but we’ll just try to relax as much as we can so we can do better in the final,” Semenya said.
Though she was expected to deliver another medal on the last day of competition, however, the Olympic champion remained cautious and was not getting ahead of herself.
“You can’t tell much, you can’t underestimate your opponents, you can’t calculate or measure them,” she said.
“It’s just about trying to enjoy your race.”
Gena Lofstrand put up another brave fight, after stunning her opponents to reach the two-lap semifinals, but she was unable to progress further after finishing eighth in her race in 2:03.67.
With two days of competition remaining, In-Site athletes had contributed four of the South African team’s record five medals at the global showpiece.

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VAN NIEKERK SHINES WITH ANOTHER MEDAL

Wayde van Niekerk spearheaded the In-Site contingent on Thursday evening, on another superb day of athletics at the IAAF World Championships in London.
Two days after retaining his 400m world title, Van Niekerk grabbed second place in the men’s 200m final, delivering a spectacular effort and dipping on the line in 20.11.
He became the first South African sprinter to earn two medals in individual events in a major global championship.
“It was really a massive rollercoaster for me, this competition,” Van Niekerk said.
“I didn’t just celebrate the medal I got tonight. It was more a celebration of the competition overall.
“Coming away with two medals, both a good colour – gold and silver – I think it’s great for my career and another moment to be grateful for.”
Earlier, middle-distance star Caster Semenya had no trouble in her 800m heat, while Gena Lofstrand produced a sterling effort to ensure she joined her in Friday’s semifinals.
With the 1 500m bronze medal in her pocket, Semenya proved she still had plenty left in the tank by winning her race in 2:01.34, and though Lofstrand settled for seventh place in her first-round contest, her front-running effort carried her home in 2:01.73 as she too qualified for the next round.
“I just want to keep winning. That’s all I’m concentrating on,” said Semenya, who was aiming to reclaim the global two-lap crown she lifted in 2009.
“I’m feeling okay after the 1500m, so I’m ready to go again.”
After bouncing back to regain top form this year, sprinter Justine Palframan finished seventh in her 200m semifinal in 23.21 and she was unable to find a place in the final, though she did well to get as far as she did in the pressure-filled cauldron in the English capital.
After seven days of competition, In-Site athletes had earned four medals (one gold, one silver and two bronze).

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