Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

When Usain Bolt calls time on his incredible career at the world championships in London this summer, there will be some very large, and probably golden, shoes for another athlete to fill. If all goes to plan, that athlete could well be Wayde van Niekerk.

At last year's Rio Olympics the 24-year-old South African stunned the competition by not only winning the 400m final from lane eight – the outside track no-one wants to run in – but also breaking Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record in the process. Van Niekerk is also the only man in history to run the 100m in under 10sec, the 200m in under 20sec and the 400m in under 44sec. Even Bolt and Johnson didn’t manage the feat.

This year Van Niekerk will compete in both the 200m and 400m at the London world championships, attempting to win a double that has only been achieved by Johnson in the past.

Ahead of what could be a massive summer, Coach spoke to Van Niekerk at the launch of the Adidas PureBOOST DPR trainer in Berlin. The interview took place just a few weeks after the world championships schedule had been confirmed, allowing Van Niekerk to have a shot at the 200m/400m double, so the demands of attempting both were at the forefront of the his mind.

“It’s going to be tough,” he admits. “It’s double the work and double the effort, but I’m excited for the challenge. It will be the first time I’ve done it. We will talk afterwards and I’ll tell you if I enjoyed it or not!”

The 200m could see Van Niekerk compete against Bolt, although the Jamaican has suggested he might only run the 100m in London. Bolt has been an inspiration for Van Niekerk, and he even predicted that the South African would do something special at last year’s Olympics.

“We chatted in Jamaica and he said he really believed I could break the world record in the 400m. Getting such high praise from such a great athlete was a massive confidence booster for me.”

Athletes always talk about running their own race and not reacting to what others are doing, but few have ever put that into practice so clearly as Van Niekerk in the Rio Olympics 400m final. Starting in the outside lane, far from the preferred middle lanes, he never even saw his competition as he stormed to victory, becoming the first man to win Olympic gold from lane eight.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” says Van Niekerk. “Not being able to see the competition, just going out there and running my own race – I had no other choice. You can’'t be waiting for anyone to catch up with you!”

Although he’s the reigning Olympic and world champion over 400m, it’s a distance that Van Niekerk only really started competing in recently.

“I’m a lover of the 100m and 200m. It was only due to injury that I ended up doing 400m about four or five years ago. I’m actually still a newbie to the 400m.”

Having broken Johnson’s 400m record (as a newbie, remember), next on Van Niekerk’s hit-list could be Bolt’s 200m benchmark.

“We’ll see,” he laughs. “I have so much more work to do to get there. We never know – if you had asked me about getting the 400 record last year I would have given you the same answer!”

Led by Bolt, Jamaica have dominated the sprint races at recent Olympics and world championships, but Van Niekerk hopes to spearhead a similar period of success for South Africa.

“We have so much potential, but only we as a country and individuals can create that powerhouse. We have to control the controllables. For me, I want to make myself a powerhouse in track and field. That’s the best that I can do as an athlete.

“Track and field still needs so much growth in our country. The support is slowly but surely growing. People in South Africa love sport. We just need to give them a reason to come out in numbers and back us.”

Should Van Niekerk complete the 200m/400m double in London he will establish himself as the new king of track and field. That will bring with it a whole new level of pressure even for an Olympic champion, but the South African has no fears about that.

“Is there ever no pressure?” says Van Niekerk. “A few years ago when I wasn’t even close to being the world’s number one, there was so much pressure to get up there. Now that I’m here I’m just going to enjoy the moment.”

The new Adidas PureBOOST DPR is available at adidas.co.uk, £109.95.

Source: https://www.coachmag.co.uk/running/6606/wayde-van-niekerk-the-south-african-sprinter-set-to-succeed-usain-bolt-at-the-top-of

5 athletes who can succeed Usain Bolt as the next superstar of track and field, according to a former Olympian

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

  • Former Olympian Katharine Merry says five athletes have the potential to succeed Usain Bolt as the superstar face of track and field.
  • Number one pick Wayde van Niekerk, a South African sprinter, can become a double World Champion this week.
  • Usain Bolt has been the fastest man on the planet for almost a decade but bows the sport on Saturday.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt hangs up his running spikes this week, ending an illustrious career in athletics.

He burst onto the track and field scene with a world-record breaking 100-metre time of 9.72 seconds in 2008. After nine years at the top, Bolt is an eight-time Olympic champion and an 11-time World Champion.

He ran his last singles race on Saturday, picking up a bronze medal in the 100-metre event at the 2017 World Championships in London, and calls time on his running career in the 4 x 100-metre relay final on August 12.

Bolt's impact on the sport means there are now questions over who can become the next face of athletics.

Former Team GB Olympian Katharine Merry, who won a bronze medal in the 400-metre event at the 2000 Games in Australia, told Business Insider there are five candidates.

“Bolt is the fastest we've had in the blue-ribbon 100-metre event and he'll be the fastest for years to come,” Merry says. “But the sport will survive after Usain Bolt retires. We had track and field before Usain and we'll have track and field after Usain.”

With that in mind, here are Merry's top five candidates to take the baton from Bolt.

1. Wayde van Niekerk — sprinter

Wayde van Niekerk. Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Even Bolt believes that South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk can succeed him as the superstar of athletics. He told reporters last week that “Wayde is ready for the challenge.”

Van Niekerk won 400-metre gold at the 2016 Olympics and also runs the 200 metres. He will be competing in both at the World Championships this week.

“Chances are, Wayde will win both,” Merry said, adding that he has “raw speed and natural talent.”

2. Nafissatou Thiam — heptathlete

Nafissatou Thiam. Ian MacNicol / Getty Images

Nafissatou Thiam beat Jessica Ennis-Hill to become an Olympic gold medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero at just 21 years old.

Fast forward a year and the Belgian added another gold medal to her locker thanks at the 2017 World Championships in London.

“Thiam is young, fresh, and extremely talented,” Merry said.

3. Shaunae Miller-Uibo — sprinter

Shaunae Miller-Uibo. Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo is already an Olympic gold medal athlete thanks to a dramatic win in the 4000-metre final at the Rio de Janeiro games.

Just 23, Miller is looking to add her first World Championship gold medal when she takes to the 400-metre track on Wednesday.

4. Laura Muir — distance runner

Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Laura Muir is Team GB's next distance running star after Mo Farah.

“Muir is an exceptional runner,” Merry said. Just 24, she is on great form having won gold in the 1,500 and 3,000-metre events at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March.

She placed fourth in the 1,500-metre final on Monday, but Merry said she could have an “even bigger chance” in the 5,000 metres on Sunday.

5. Andrew Pozzi — hurdler

David Ramos / Getty Images

Another Briton on the list, Merry identifies Pozzi as an outstanding talent.

Though Pozzi crashed the 110-metre hurdles event at the World Championships on Sunday, he is still regarded to have a bright future having won gold in the 60-metre hurdles at the European Indoor Championships last March.

Katharine Merry is running the Great North Run in September for Duracell, which set up this interview.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/the-next-usain-bolt-athletics-wayde-van-niekerk-2017-8

6 Facts About Wayde Van Niekerk, South African Runner Who Bolt Crowned Successor

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt announced that he will be quitting track after the 2017 World Athletics Championships, which start in London Friday.

Ahead of his retirement, Bolt has been sharing his insight on which athlete he thinks has what it takes to succeed him as the king of the track.

According to Bolt, Wayde Van Niekerk, the 25-year-old South African sprinter who won gold in the men’s 400m event at the Rio Olympics, is the one athlete most ly to wear the crown in the coming years.

More about this

Van Niekerk is proving to be a world star; he’s proven that he can step up to the plate,” Bolt told the BBC about the relatively unknown South African.

Here on Face2Face Africa we’ve compiled a list of six details you probably didn’t know about the next global superstar in athletics.

1) He Set a New 400m World Record Time at the Rio Olympics

Photo credit: IOL

Van Niekerk won the gold medal in the 400m event at the 2016 Summer Olympics with an incredible world record time of 43.03 seconds, smashing Michael Johnson‘s previous record which had stood for 17 years.

2) He Competes in Several Categories

Photo credit: Oudtshoorn Courant

Van Niekerk competes and excels in several short distance categories, including the 100m, 200m, and 400m.

On March 12, 2016, he became the 107th athlete to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m, and he is currently the only athlete in history to have run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in under 20 seconds, and the 400m in under 44 seconds.

3) He Is a University Graduate

Jamaica’s sprint icon Usain Bolt (left) works out with South Africa’s 400m World champion Wayde Van Niekerk (centre) and 2015 World University Games 100m champion Akani Simbine June 6, 2016, at the University of the West Indies track. Photo credit: Bryan Cummings

Van Niekerk studied Marketing at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. Before that he attended Bellville Primary and Grey College, where he first caught the eye of athletic coaches for his incredible speed while playing rugby.

4) He Is a Devout Christian

Thank you to everyone…

GOD IS POWER pic..com/hQIRy0ynhN

— Wayde van Niekerk (@WaydeDreamer) August 15, 2016

A devout Bible-believing Christian, Van Kerk never misses out on an opportunity to profess his strong faith in God. His running shoes often carry the inscription: “Jesus, I’m all yours. Use me.” And after his record-breaking 400m victory in Rio, he tweeted the above.

5) His Coach Is a 75-Year-Old Great-Grandmother

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 15: Wayde van Niekerk (gold medallist and new world record holder) and Tannie Ans Botha (coach) during a media conference with South African media on Day 10 of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo credit: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Van Niekerk is coached by 75-year-old Ans Botha, a great-grandmother known as “Tannie” – Afrikaans for “Auntie” – by her pupils.

Van Niekerk met Botha in 2012, when he was still a 20-year-old amateur prone to nagging injuries, and combined his feats on the track with his studies at the University of the Free State.

6) First Man To Win the Olympic 400m from Lane 8

With his 400m success in Rio, Van Niekerk became the first and only man to have won the Olympic or World 400 meters from Lane 8: usually runners in this lane are at a disadvantage due to the staggered start.

Source: https://face2faceafrica.com/article/wayde-van-niekerk-facts

Wayde van Niekerk sets first international race since 2017 – OlympicTalk

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

Wayde van Niekerk will return to international competition this summer for the first time since the August 2017 World Championships.

He is entered in a Diamond League meet in London from July 20-21. A rep for Van Niekerk would not say whether he will race elsewhere before then.

Van Niekerk tore a meniscus and an ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match on Oct. 7, 2017, requiring surgery.

The Olympic and world 400m champion made a low-key return at a domestic meet Feb. 22, winning a race in 47.28 seconds. His world record from Rio is 43.03.

Van Niekerk attempted a 400m-200m double at the 2017 Worlds, earning gold in the former and silver in the latter.

That appears very unly this year, not only because of the injury return but also because the 400m heats and 200m final at worlds are on the same day. Van Niekerk also doubted he would double again in the 400m and 200m in post-2017 Worlds interviews.

Van Niekerk is the only man in history to run sub-44 for the 400m, sub-20 for the 200m and sub-10 for the 100m.

During his absence, American Michael Norman has emerged as the world’s top 400m runner. Norman, 21, ran the sixth-fastest lap in history on April 20, a 43.45 that was also the fastest 400m ever run before the month of June.

Van Niekerk’s best time since Rio was 43.62. He has never raced Norman head to head.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Caster Semenya appeals testosterone rule again with defiant statement

Follow @nbcolympictalk

The U.S. and Canada drew the same Olympic men’s hockey group for the first time since 2010, guaranteeing the North American rivals will face each other at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced the Olympic seedings and groups Friday, using the world rankings. There was no change in the men’s top 12 from 2019 to 2020, given the world championship tournament, scheduled for May, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2022 Olympic men’s hockey groups:

Group A: Canada (1), USA (6), Germany (7), China (12)Group B: Russia (2), Czech Republic (5), Switzerland (8), Qualifier 3 (11)

Group C: Finland (3), Sweden (4), Qualifier 1 (9), Qualifier 2 (10)

The Olympic tournament format will remain the same. The group winners, plus the highest-ranked group runner-up, advance directly to the quarterfinals. The other eight teams go to a playoff round to determine the other four quarterfinalists.

The U.S. lost in the quarterfinals to the Czech Republic at the 2018 Olympics, where there was no NHL participation for the first time since 1994. It last earned a medal in 2010, taking silver behind Canada. Its last gold was the Miracle on Ice in 1980.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman repeated in the last two years that he doubts the league takes a midseason break for the 2022 Winter Games, even with a more favorable host market for hockey growth in China than in South Korea in 2018.

“There is no news to report,” Bettman said in November after meetings with the IIHF. “I don’t want to sound a broken record on the subject, but I think going to the Olympics is a challenge for us.

I know the players love representing their countries. I know that the players going. I know that the players that don’t go having a break in the middle of the season.

But from our standpoint, we have found going to the Olympics to be incredibly disruptive to our season.

“For us, at best, it’s a mixed bag. And, again, it has some pretty material downsides in terms of what happens to our season.”

In the women’s tournament, the U.S. and Canada drew the same group for a third straight Olympics. That was a formality, given the women’s group structure places the world’s top five nations in the same group. Beijing will be the first Olympics with 10 women’s teams, up from eight in 2018.

In the past, the top two teams from the top-ranked group advanced directly to the semifinals, and the bottom two into the playoff round.

The Olympic women’s hockey groups:

Group A: USA (1), Canada (2), Finland (3), Russia (4), Switzerland (5)
Group B: Japan (6), Qualifier 1 (7), Qualifier 2 (8), Qualifier 3 (9), China (10)

MORE: NHL players vote for world’s top female player

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Follow @nbcolympictalk

The next beach volleyball world championships, originally scheduled for Rome in summer 2021, has been postponed to June 2022 in the Italian capital.

The move was made in light of the Tokyo Olympics postponement to July-August 2021, and in respect of the international sports calendar and agenda, Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said in a press release.

Beach volleyball worlds have been held officially in odd years dating to 1997. The first worlds were held in Los Angeles. European nations hosted the last eight editions, including in Hamburg, Germany, last year.

A U.S. women’s team has reached the semifinals of every worlds. Last year, April Ross and Alix Klineman earned silver, falling to Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes in the final.

That tournament carried the most points in Olympic qualification, putting Ross and Klineman in prime position to earn one of two U.S. spots. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat lead a race for the second spot, ahead of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil.

With sports halted and the Olympics pushed to 2021, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) must decide how it will alter Olympic qualifying. The original format was to take each pair’s 12 best results in international events from Sept. 1, 2018 to June 14, 2020.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Will Kerri Walsh Jennings qualify for Tokyo Olympics?

Follow @nbcolympictalk

Source: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/06/03/wayde-van-niekerk-comeback-injury/

Wayde van Niekerk: South African sprinter – Biography and Life

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

Wayde van Niekerk (South African English pronunciation: , Afrikaans: [fan niˈkɛrk]; born 15 July 1992) is a South African track and field sprinter who competes in the 200 metres and 400 metres. He is the current world record holder, world champion and Olympic champion in the 400 metres, and also holds the world best time in the 300 metres.

Van Niekerk was the silver medallist in the 400m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and took bronze in the 4×400 metres relay at the 2013 Summer Universiade.

He also represented South Africa at the 2013 and the 2015 Athletics World Championships. At the 2015 World Championships, he won the gold medal in the 400 metres.

He defended this title two year later, in London, where he also won the silver medal in the 200 metres race.

In the 2016 Olympic Games Men's 400m, he won the gold medal with a World Record time of 43.03 seconds (reaction time 0.181 s) aged 24 years and 30 days, beating the time of 43.18 seconds set by Michael Johnson during the 1999 World Championships in Athletics in Seville, Spain.

In 2016 he became the first, and to date, only, sprinter in history to have run the 100 m in under 10 seconds, the 200 m in under 20 seconds and the 400 m in under 44 seconds.

Born in Cape Town, Wayde van Niekerk attended Bellville Primary and Grey College before going on to study marketing at University of the Free State. He made his international debut at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics, where he placed fourth in the 200 m with a personal best time of 21.02 seconds.

He also ran in the 4×100 metres relay heats with the national team, alongside Gideon Trotter. His senior breakthrough came at the age of eighteen at the 2011 South African Athletics Championships when he won the 200 m title in a new personal best of 20.57 seconds. He competed at that event at the 2011 African Junior Athletics Championships, but did not make the final.

He ran sparingly in 2012, but began to show a talent for the 400 metres, setting a best of 46.43 seconds.

The 2013 season marked van Niekerk's emergence as a 400 m runner. He won the second national title of his career over that distance at the 2013 South African Championships, winning with a sub-46-second time.

He won the IAAF Meeting de Dakar before travelling to Europe and placing second to Olympic champion Kirani James at the Golden Spike Ostrava, improving his best time to 45.09 seconds in the process.

He entered the 400 metres at the 2013 Summer Universiade and narrowly missed out on the final as the fastest non-qualifier.

He managed to reach the podium and receive his first international medal in the 4×400 metres relay as the South African men took the bronze medals. His performances earned him a place in the 400m at the 2013 World Championships, where he did not progress past the heats.

A national title win in April 2014 saw van Niekerk top the world rankings with a best of 44.92 seconds – his first sub-45-second run.

After a win at the K Games in the Netherlands he ran at the New York Diamond League race and placed second to LaShawn Merritt, but his time of 44.

38 seconds was a new South African record, bettering Arnaud Malherbe and Hendrick Mokganyetsi's shared record from March 1999 and September 2000 respectively. A 200 m best of 20.19 seconds followed in a fourth-place finish at the Athletissima meet.

He entered both sprint events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won his first individual senior medal over 400 m, placing behind Kirani James with a time of 44.68 seconds (his second fastest run at that point). He reached the semi-final of the 200 m, but did not repeat his success of the longer sprint.

In 2015, he lowered his South African record to below 44 seconds with a 43.96 at the Meeting Areva and ranking himself in the top dozen of all time. At the 2015 IAAF World Championships, van Niekerk won gold in the 400 metres with a time of 43.48 seconds, making him the fourth fastest runner of all time, ahead of LaShawn Merritt who was running his personal best as the sixth fastest.

On March 12, 2016 he became the 107th athlete to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres. That made him the first individual to break 10 seconds for 100 metres, 20 seconds for 200 metres, and 44 seconds for 400 metres. Van Niekerk qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics and was the flag bearer for South Africa.

Van Niekerk won the gold medal in the 400 metres at the 2016 Summer Olympics with a world record time of 43.03 seconds, breaking Michael Johnson's from 1999. Van Niekerk became the only man to have won the Olympic or world 400 metres from lane eight: usually, runners in this lane are at a disadvantage due to the staggered start.

On 8 August 2017 Van Niekerk successfully defended his 400 metres world title at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London with a time of 43.98 seconds.

His coach is Ans Botha, who is known to her athletes as Tannie Ans, Afrikaans for Aunty Ans. His manager is Peet Van Zyl.

Personal bests

  • 100 metres: 9.94, Velenje, Slovenia, 20 Jun 2017
  • 200 metres: 19.84 (+1.2), Kingston, 10 Jun 2017
  • 300 metres: 30.81 WB, Ostrava, Czech Republic, 28 Jun 2017
  • 400 metres: 43.03 , Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico), 14 Aug 2016





Van Niekerk ran the opening 200 metres in 20.5 seconds and the closing 200 metres in 22.5 seconds, giving a differential of 2.0 seconds. The 100 metre-long-section beginning after the first 100 metres was completed in 9.8 seconds.

Van Niekerk is the cousin of South African rugby union and rugby sevens player Cheslin Kolbe. He first started using his speed while playing rugby in junior school in Cape Town. He and his cousin, Kolbe, were on the same team. More than 12 years later they were both in the South African Olympic Team in Rio, with Kolbe playing in the Sevens.

He supports Liverpool Football Club. He is a Christian, tweeting “Jesus Did It” and “GOD IS POWER” after setting the world record for the 400m. Van Niekerk's Olympic wins set off a racial debate after a tweet storm when Coloured South Africans celebrated his win by creating a hashtag #ColouredExcellence. In November, he won the Best Male Athlete of the Rio 2016 Olympics award in Doha.

Source: https://peoplepill.com/people/wayde-van-niekerk/

Usain Bolt is certain this sprinter is world athletics’ next big superstar

Wayde Van Niekerk: The South African Sprinter Set To Succeed Usain Bolt At The Top Of The Athletics World

When Wayde van Niekerk returned home to South Africa with his first major gold medal from the 2015 World Championship in Beijing, only his mother was at the airport to meet him. At least, that’s according to the post of a woman who happened to recognize him in the Bloemfontein airport.

These days, his fortunes are much different. Van Niekerk has become a household name in South Africa and is well on his way to being a global superstar—a far cry from a few years ago when he considered quitting.

His star status was recently rubber-stamped as Usain Bolt, athletics’ superstar of the past decade, said van Niekerk could replace him as the sport’s main star.

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

Bolt’s endorsement is timely, as he bows  the spotlight after the World Athletics Championships in London this weekend.

Bolt’s coronation of van Niekerk is not without merit. Since making his international debut as a greenhorn 18-year old at the IAAF World Junior Championships hosted by Canada in 2010, van Niekerk, 25, has raced into global consciousness.

Van Niekerk’s epochal moment so far came at the Olympic Games in 2016 when he ran the fastest 400-meter race in history, breaking a 17-year-old world record in the process.

Van Niekerk completed the single lap in 43:03 seconds, beating the previous record set by Michael Johnson by 0.15 seconds.

He also broke Johnson’s 300-meter world record time in June.

AP Photo/Petr David Josek

Wayde’s time, Wayde’s world

Van Niekerk credits much of his record breaking performance to his coach Ans Botha, a 74-year-old great grandmother of four who has been a track-and-field coach since the 1960s.

This year, he’s pushed himself even further running in the 100 and 200 meters and he set yet another record while at it becoming the first athlete to run 100 meters under 10 seconds, 200 meters under 20 seconds and 400 meters under 44 seconds.

These exploits have started to pay off handsomely with world’ record bonuses from some of his sponsors. Audi, another one of van Niekerk’s sponsors, gifted him with a $223,000  sports car. The 25-year old also has an endorsement with Adidas.

While Van Niekerk’s agent is forbidden from discussing the athlete’s earnings,  following his Rio performance, conservative estimates pegged his earnings for the year at 28 million rand (about $2.1 million).

It’s nowhere near Bolt’s $33 million, but if Bolt himself were to be believed, van Niekerk could very well get there.

Without these sponsorship deals, van Niekerk’s career may very well have gone the way of so many South African track and field talent, hampered by the disarray and poor funding that has gripped Athletics South Africa in recent years.

Instead, van Niekerk’s international stardom, along with that of 800 meter Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya, has also shone a spotlight (paywall) on his fellow athletes 100-meter sprinter Akani Simbine and long jumper Luvo Manyonga.

It may have seemed unly in the 1990s as van Niekerk grew up in Kraaifontein outside Cape Town that he’d one day become the biggest name in athletics.

Already 25 and without the confident swagger of Bolt, van Niekerk’s popularity will ly be anchored more on his performance on the tracks than his stardust off it.  He’s even admitted that he might not be able to “entertain” Bolt.  “I am not that type but I see qualities I share with Usain Bolt, and that brings a form of comfort even if it won’t sell T-shirts,” he said earlier this year.

“,”author”:”Lynsey Chutel, Yomi Kazeem”,”date_published”:null,”lead_image_url”:”https://cms.qz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/jamaica-van-niekerk-bolt.jpg?quality=75&strip=all&w=1400″,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:”https://qz.com/africa/1046652/usain-bolt-says-south-africas-wayde-van-niekerk-is-athletics-next-superstar/”,”domain”:”qz.com”,”excerpt”:”Could the unassuming athlete from small-town South Africa be the next global athletics superstar?”,”word_count”:616,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}

Source: https://qz.com/africa/1046652/usain-bolt-says-south-africas-wayde-van-niekerk-is-athletics-next-superstar/