IAAF WORLD CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS

Muscat Daily - - PRESS RELEASES -

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.

(AFP)

South Africa's Wayde Van Niek­erk on his way to the men's 400m gold at the Lon­don Sta­dium on Tues­day night

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