Wel­come to Wayde’s world, says Mr Bolt

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Sport - KGO­MOTSO SETHUSHA kgo­mot­sos@the­newage.co.za

IN THE wake of his record-shat­ter­ing per­for­mance over 300m, Wayde Van Niek­erk has once again re­ceived wide­spread ac­claim from his grow­ing le­gion of fans across the world.

But it’s the tribute from Usain Bolt that has pro­vided the South African Olympic cham­pion more than loads of ad­mi­ra­tion.

If ever Van Niek­erk doubted his abil­ity to dom­i­nate the pin­na­cle of the sprint­ing world, then the en­cour­ag­ing words from sprint leg­end and friend, Bolt, should dis­pel any un­cer­tainty.

“Yeah for sure, I think he really wants to be a sprinter be­cause he’s set a per­sonal best in the 100m this year,” Bolt said of Van Niek­erk.

“He’s shown that he’s ready for the chal­lenge. He’s really down to earth, he’s really hum­ble and he’s a great per­son. He lis­tens and wants to be good and if he con­tin­ues like this he’ll take over track and field.”

Van Niek­erk blitzed home in an as­ton­ish­ing time of 30.81 sec­onds as he set a new 300m world record at the World Chal­lenge Golden Spike meet in Os­trava in mid­week, smash­ing the pre­vi­ous world record of 30.85sec set by Amer­i­can Michael John­son back in 2000 in Pre­to­ria.

With his lat­est vic­tory in the Czech Re­pub­lic, he has run per­sonal bests in three dif­fer­ent races, the 200m in 19.84sec, which is the SA record‚ 100m in 9.94sec in Slove­nia and now the rarely-run 300m in Os­trava.

It wasn’t long be­fore he be­came the first ath­lete to have bro­ken the 10, 20 and 44-sec­ond bar­ri­ers in the 100m (9.94), 200m (19.84) and 400m (43.03) events.

He also broke the Golden Spike record of 30.97sec set by poster boy Bolt in 2010.

“This world record is a blessing. It’s a mas­sive con­fi­dence booster,” Van Niek­erk said.

“I’m so pleased, blessed and grate­ful for this big achieve­ment.”

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