Wayde eyes double

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15:  Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa is crowned Olympic champion as he gets his gold medal for winning the 400m for men's race. Olympic athletics day four Finals on August 15, 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by ©Christiaan Kotze/SASPA
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 15: Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa is crowned Olympic champion as he gets his gold medal for winning the 400m for men’s race. Olympic athletics day four Finals on August 15, 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by ©Christiaan Kotze/SASPA

Olympic 400m champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk hopes to add the 200m to his IAAF World Championships schedule in London later this year, but it is not set in stone, according to his manager Peet van Zyl of In-Site Athlete Management.
Van Zyl reiterated on Friday that Van Niekerk’s main focus for the season was to successfully defend the 400m title he won at the global showpiece in Beijing two years ago.
“It will all depend on how his season progresses, racing both the 200m and 400m distances on the international circuit, including a few Diamond League meetings,” Van Zyl said.
“A decision about whether he will attempt the 200m/400m double at the world championships will hinge on his performances in those races.”
Van Niekerk made history at the Rio Olympic Games last year when he broke American Michael Johnson’s long-standing global one-lap record, crossing the line in 43.03 seconds.
The 24-year-old athlete was the first South African to dip below 20 seconds in the 200m sprint when he set the former national record of 19.94 seconds at a meeting in Lucerne in 2015.
He also won the African 200m title in Durban last year.
In order to be considered for selection in the half-lap event at the World Championships, he would have to post a qualifying time of 20.31 or faster.
Van Zyl confirmed they had sent a request to global athletics body the IAAF for a scheduling change, as the 200m heats were set to be held two hours before the 400m final on the current programme.
However, the IAAF informed In-Site Athlete Management the correct procedure needed to be followed which required the national federation, Athletics SA (ASA) to make the request on behalf of the athlete.
Van Zyl denied a report which suggested Van Niekerk was hoping to set up a meeting with eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt at the World Championships.
Bolt has publicly stated he would not be racing in the 200m but would instead focus on the 100m in the final event of his career.

Van Niekerk nominated for Laureus Sports Awards

breakthrough

Wayde van Niekerk has been named on a shortlist of global superstars for the prestigious Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category.

The South African sprinting sensation can add yet another international accolade for his heroics at the Rio Olympic Games where he smashed the 400m world record to clinch the title.

Van Niekerk made history at the 2016 showpiece when he dismantled American Michael Johnson’s long-standing one-lap record crossing the line in 43.03 seconds.

It could be Van Niekerk’s second major international accolade after he was named Best Male Athlete of the 2016 Rio Game by the Association of International Olympic Committees (Anoc).

“I am humbled just to be mentioned in the company of great sportsmen and women that have been nominated for the Laureus Sports Awards,” Van Niekerk said.

“Just to be nominated for Laureus Sports Awards is a dream come true for any athlete which will inspire and motivate me for years to come.”

Van Niekerk has been shortlisted in the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year category along with Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana, the Fiji men’s Rugby Sevens team, Iceland’s men’s football team, Leicester City FC, and Formula One driver Nico Rosberg.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is held annually, celebrating the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with their achievements from the previous calendar year.

A Nominations Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters vote to treat a shortlist of six nominations in five categories — Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswomen of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

“Named alongside some of the most accomplished athletes in world sport is a testament to Wayde’s incredible rise on the global stage,” said Peet van Zyl of In-Site athlete management.

“We are extremely proud of his achievements over the last few years and we wish him and all the other nominees the best of luck for the prestigious Laureus Sports Awards.”