Wayde record stuns Bolt
CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk left Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt stunned after winning the Olympic 400m gold medal in record breaking time.
Van Niekerk smashed American Michael Johnson’s 17-year old record by 0.15, winning in 43.03. Some 25 minutes later, Bolt won the 100m title in 9.81. But Bolt was left stunned when he saw Van Niekerk break the world record.
Bolt also went over to congratulate Van Niekerk in person.
It was a fitting moment between two champions, and Van Niekerk revealed the nature of their conversation afterwards. “I was over there (Jamaica) for about two weeks training with him,” Van Niekerk said. “He’s been such a huge rock in inspiring me as an athlete. “He told me back in Jamaica that I would break the world record and he came to me afterwards and said ‘I told you that you can do it’.
“These are guys that inspire me each and every day to be the best Wayde that I can be.”
Van Niekerk added that he would love the opportunity to race against Bolt one day.
“My favourite event is the 200m so I would love to race him one day when I’m big,” the fastest man ever over 400m said.
Wayde van Niekerk says he doesn’t remember a thing after his world record run in the 400m at the Rio Olympics.
Van Niekerk set the Games alight on Sunday night (Monday morning, SA time) with a 43.03 run that broke American legend Michael Johnson’s world record that had stood since 1999.
It will surely be one of the biggest performances of this year’s Olympics by any athlete from any country.
Speaking to media after his race, Van Niekerk said that it was all a blur. “I really can’t comment on that race. I don’t remember a thing and I will literally have to go and watch the race for me to tell you about it,” he said.
“I’m not normally speechless when it comes to interviews ... but I think I still need to let it sink in. I don’t even think I was in that race tonight, that’s how unreal it feels.”
Van Niekerk, running out of lane 8, said he went into the race without a clear-cut plan. “There was no strategy ... I just went,” he said. The 24-year-old had said before the race that he had 10 relatives making the trip from South Africa to support him, and he ran straight to them after he had achieved the nearimpossible.
“Having my whole family here meant the world to me tonight,” he said. “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to have them here live to witness that.
“This is the perfect opportunity to thank each and every one who has supported me and been a part of this journey and to thank everyone in South Africa.
“I had no pressure ... everyone in South Africa was supporting me. My whole country helped me believe in myself.”— Sport24.