Van Niekerk’s comeback from serious injury derailed by positive Covid-19 test
Wayde van Niekerk, the 400metres world record holder, tested positive for Covid-19 in Italy ahead of his first competitive appearance outside South Africa since 2017.
The manager of the Olympic champion, who has endured a long road back from a serious knee injury three years ago, was perplexed by the result ahead of a meeting in Trieste. “I don’t know how it’s possible,” Peet van Zyl said. “He has been training for the whole week and never had any symptom, not even after testing positive. He hasn’t had a fever.”
Van Niekerk, 28, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament while playing a charity touch rugby game to leave his career in doubt, and began his comeback in February this year.
Britain’s Jemma Reekie, meanwhile, edged out training partner Laura Muir in the 800metres at the Triveneto Meeting, with both athletes dipping inside two minutes.
Reekie, who set three national records over the winter, cut almost two seconds from her previous outdoor best to clock 1min 59.52sec, two hundredths of a second ahead of Muir. Andrew Pozzi also secured a British success, with the world indoor champion continuing his winning run in the 110m hurdles after setting his world-leading time of 13.30 set in Savona two weeks ago.
In Moscow, meanwhile, more than 9,500 runners competed in the city’s annual half-marathon.
Competitors wore masks and gloves in the starting area, had their temperatures checked and were told to observe social-distancing rules because of the pandemic.
The race had been postponed from May.