Wayde van Niekerk – a true South African wears the medals July 10 2017, 0 Comments
Do you remember, August 2016? Round about the middle of the month in Rio when a true South African stormed to victory. Wayde van Niekerk not only won the gold medal but set a new world record, covering 400 meters in 43.03 seconds!
This was a momentous occasion for the South African medalist as a world-class winner and the owner of the first gold medal in a track event for South Africa in 96 years. The previous record achieved by Michael Johnson over this distance had stood since 1999.
Minutes later, Usain Bolt ran the 100m in only 9.81 seconds, the third in a series of 100m titles. Wining trophies and medals was in the air.
Wayde was inspired by Bolt’s achievements and spent time in Jamaica training with him. “My favourite event is the 200m so I would love to race him one day when I am big,” said the fastest man ever over 400m.
It was earlier in the year that Wayde became the first athlete to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in under 20 seconds and the 400m in under 44 seconds. Imagine the pleasant weight of three gold medals around your neck!
Now, he has added one more: a gold for the 300m in sub 31 seconds and has become the first man in history to hold the title over all four distances. What an exceptional athlete.
Wayde is humble in his achievement and readily acknowledges that there were significant others including Glen Mills, Usain Bolt’s coach in Jamaica. Back home, another true South African and unlikely coach, his white-haired grandmother, Ans Botha. This combination proved to be dynamite for van Niekerk.
We salute you Wayde! May these records again be confirmed and beaten by you, a proudly South African man and a role model to many, young aspiring athletes.
For athletics medals with a South African falvour (athletics image with SA Flag colours ribbon), see: https://www.prestigeawards.co.za/collections/medals/products/athletics-medal and the new Mzanzi medal: https://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/multipurpose-mzanzi-medal-40