By Mark Etheridge
Wayde van Niekerk’s wonderworks in the world of athletics continues … at pace, as usual.
On Saturday the Bloemfontein blitz blasted into the record books again, and on this occasion it’s for a pretty special reason.
The reigning IAAF World Championships 400-metre ace has now become the first man in history to run faster than 10 seconds for the 100m, 20sec for the 200m and 45sec for the 400m.
Running the Free State Championships on his home track, he stopped the clocks at 9.98sec. That time slots in next to his 19.94 and 43.38 for the other two distances.
Prior to Saturday’s success, Van Niekerk’s 100m best was a relatively pedestrian (in his books) 10.45sec.
And Van Niekerk revealed to Road to Rio 2016 after his tremendous treble feat that it had been something he had secretly been hoping for.
‘Well I’ve always believed in it but was always a bit afraid because obviously no-one wanted me to take that risk.
‘But a few months back while coach [Ans Botha] and I planned the year, I tried pulling her leg and asked her if I could do the 100m at Free State champs because I wanted to improve my 10.45.
‘I knew this weekend would be my only opportunity… so I took it,’ he said in typical humbling fashion. And take it he did as that best is just 0.03sec short of a half-second improvement.
There’s no doubting that the current high that SA athletics is going through helped with any motivation, if needed. ‘Akani Simbine’s 9.96 SA 100m record this week was definitely my inspiration after starting his season off in such great fashion.’
And another spiralling success story of SA athletics also had a part to play after long jumper Luvo Manyonga continued his comeback from a nightmare period of drug problems resulted in a ban back in 2012. Manyonga has now bettered the Olympic qualifying distance on two occasions this last week.
‘Oh yes, I’m so glad he’s coming back, I’m a huge fan of him.’
Van Niekerk’s name is now fifth on the points list of the treble sprints.
Athletics freak Usain Bolt has times of 9.58, 19.19 and 45.28 while one-lap legend Michael Johnson boasts best of 10.09, 19.32 and 43,18.
Yes, the man whose Twitter handle is @WaydeDreamer is rapidly becoming a case of @Wayde’sDreamscometrue.
– See more at: http://www.sascoc.co.za/2016/03/13/waydes-at-it-again-making-world-track-history-in-his-hometown/#sthash.WwcHeKUH.dpuf
By Mark Etheridge