LONDON — Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa successfully defended his 400 metres title at the IAAF World Championships on Tuesday night.
Running from Lane 6, Van Niekerk paced himself perfectly over the first 200m before pulling away from the field to build a big enough gap to ease across the finish line in 43.98 seconds.
Victory for the world record holder saw him defending the title he first won in Beijing, in 2015, while adding to his Olympic gold from Rio 2016 last summer.
Van Niekerk has now completed the first half of his 200m/400m double, but Tuesday night’s race certainly took a lot out of the versatile sprinter.
Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas held on late to take the silver medal in 44.41secs, much slower than the 43.89 national record he ran in the semi-finals.
The late charging Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar bullied through for the bronze medal in 44.48.
Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe finished in 44.66 for fourth place with Jamaica’s Nathan Allen, the only other man to break 45-seconds in the final, getting fifth in 44.88.
Meanwhile, pre-race medal contender Isaac Makwala of Botswana was supposed to start from lane 7, but he was kept out of the race because of a stomach virus that ripped through the championships.
Makwala, who insisted that he was well to race, was barred from the stadium by officials under the instruction of the IAAF which said the sprinter should be quarantined until Wednesday to protect other athletes at the championships.
In the meantime, France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse upset the favourites to win the men’s 800m gold medal.
The 25-year-old who finished fourth at the Olympics last summer and fifth at Beijing’s World Championships two-years-ago, burst into the lead with 200 meters and held on to win his first world title in 1:44.67.
A fast finishing Adam Kszczot of Poland took silver in 1:44.95, out-leaning Kipyegon Bett of Kenya in 1:45.21.
Elsewhere, Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won the gold medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in 8:14.12, while Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic won the women’s Javelin Throw with a mark of 66.76m and Sam Kendricks of the United States took the men’s Pole Vault with a clearance of 5.95m.