Wayde’s double dilemma
SETTING his sights on breaking through the 43-second barrier in the onelap sprint, Wayde van Niekerk is in two minds whether he would be doing the 200-400m double at the IAAF World Championships in London later this year.
The world-record holder recently confirmed he had requested a programme change at the global showpiece that would enable him to race both distances competitively.
Van Niekerk said he has since changed his mind as he looks to improve his world record time of 43.03 seconds aiming to become the first man to break through the barrier.
“Two weeks ago there was no doubt in my mind that I want to do both events but I am sitting on the edge thinking whether I should focus purely on the 400m and try and break 43 seconds,” Van Niekerk said ahead of the Laureus Sports Awards held in Monaco on Tuesday evening.
“A change in programme will open some doors for me to do both. I can then focus on the 400m not having to gamble during the heats just before the 400m final.”
The Olympic and world champion said he would instead look to improve his times in the half-lap sprint and establish himself as a contender in this event.
Van Niekerk boasts a 200m time of 19.94secs and will be looking for drastic improvements before making up his mind about racing the double.
“I was thinking where I want to be and what I want. At the same time, breaking the sub-43 barrier is massive.
“If I run world-class times by the time the World Championships come around, you will see me in the line-up but I wouldn’t want to enter it with a high 19-second time.”
While the double remains in the back of his mind, it means Van Niekerk will be unavailable for the 4x100m relay at the world championships.
A full-strength team consisting of Van Niekerk, Anaso Jobodwana, Henricho Bruintjies and Akani Simbine could give some of the world’s top nations a run for their money.
Van Niekerk’s absence would leave the team with only two sub-10 second runners in Bruintjies and Simbine.
Meanwhile, Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt said he would have given his Laureus Sportsman of the Year award to Van Niekerk had the South African been nominated.