IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
London, UK - South African star Wayde van Niekerk is halfway to his target of the 400m and 200m world double after easing to victory in the former on Tuesday in London.
The 25 year old's task of landing both eased considerably with main rival Isaac Makwala of Botswana barred from running by the sport's governing body because he had been diagnosed with the highly contagious norovirus.
After initially struggling with the cold, the South African ran a solid final bend to blast to victory in 43.98 seconds with a lot to spare.
"It was quite freezing and I struggled to get myself warmed up and ready," said Van Niekerk, who came into the 400m as defending world and Olympic champion.
"I was doubting my momentum. In the last 150m I tried putting in an extra gear, but I couldn’t catch my stride until my last few metres. I just allowed the race to go through to the finish line."
The last athlete to claim the 200-400m double was American Michael Johnson, who achieved the feat the 1995 worlds in Gothenburg, Sweden, repeating the achievement a year later in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Van Niekerk added that the double was not a given.
"It 's easier said than done," he said. "It's competition, unpredictable.
"My body still feels very good. It took me a while to recover tonight.
"But from endurance I go straight to speed tomorrow... It's a day-by-day, step-by-step process for us athletes."
Van Niekerk, the first athlete to break ten seconds over 100m, 20sec over 200m and 44sec over 400m, added he was delighted his coach Anna 'Tannie Ans' Botha would also receive a medal as part of a championships initiative to reward coaches.
"Everyone knows the superstar coach I have," he said of the 74 year old great-grandmother who oversees the hottest property in world athletics.
"It's actually a massive honour for me to be able to reach these great heights with her.” it's
French Bosse is 800m boss
very Botswana suffered further disappointment as 800m race favourite Nijel Amos - second on the same track in the 2012 Olympic final - faded to finish fifth with Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse taking a deserved gold for a bold and brave performance which he revealed afterwards reflected his love of gambling.
"I am a gambler, I love going to the casino," said Bosse.
"And today I just gambled, I put everything on the red, even my last Euro. So hopefully, this is also for luck in love."
However, for his compatriot Renaud Lavillenie his world gold drought continued even in the stadium where he won Olympic gold in 2012.
The Frenchman had to settle for bronze - his fifth minor medal in the world championships - with American Sam Kendricks taking the title in front of his parents and girlfriend to boot.
Kipruto takes steeplechase
Conselsus Kipruto maintained Kenya's fine record in the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase winning in cheeky style from Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali with long-time leader Evan Jager of the US third.
Kipruto appeared to be under pressure from Elbakkali going to the last obstacle but once over it the Olympic champion cupped his hand to his ear and pounded his chest.
"I used my plans well and last night for morale I told myself, 'I am Olympic champion and that others must break me'," said Kipruto.
"There are others who are strong but I used my own plans. I knew if the race was around 8:10 that I was going to win."
There was a second world title for the Czech Republic's women's javelin world record holder Barbora Spotakova.
The 36 year old - a two-time Olympic champion - won with a mark of 66.76m.
"At this stadium, I am unbeatable," said Spotakova.
"There must be something in the air about London. I cannot explain it but when I enter this stadium, I always feel so calm and relaxed.
"The whole day I was thinking about my last world title which was ten years ago in Osaka. Actually, it is also almost exactly five years since my Olympic title here in London. These facts made me feel very emotional."
There could also be a women's double in the 200 and 400m as Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the Bahamas 400m Olympic champion, looked good in her 200m heat - she runs in the 400m final - and with her chances boosted as America's 100m gold medallist Tori Bowie did not start because of the after effects of her tumble after crossing the line in Sunday's victory.
South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk on his way to the men's 400m gold at the London Stadium on Tuesday night