Wayde’s dou­ble dilemma

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT - OCK­ERT DE VIL­LIERS

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.

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