MIAMI — Wayde van Niekerk has set his sight to breaking his own 400m world record and the Olympic champion has once again made a bold move to train with some of the top sprinters in the world.
1. Van Niekerk Breaks World Record In Rio Olympics
As part of his preparations for the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil 2016, Van Niekerk traveled to Jamaica to join Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake as part of Glen Mills’ training group and that decision played a helping hand in him smashing Michael Johnson‘s then 17-year-old world record, competing from lane eight.
His magical run saw him producing a time of 43.03 seconds.
2. Van Niekerk Joining Miller-Uibo And Lyles
With that record now in his sight, Van Niekerk has decided to temporarily leave his longtime coach, 79-year-old Ans Botha in South Africa and join coach Lance Brauman’s group in Florida, USA.
The high-performing training group will also include Bahamian Rio Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, as well as American 200m sprint specialist Noah Lyles.
“I have spent most of my career under the guidance of ‘Tannie’ Ans Botha at my base in Bloemfontein and I can’t express the gratitude for everything she has done to help me get to this point in my career,” Van Niekerk said in a statement.
“As much as I have enjoyed my experience with Tannie Ans and her group, I am hoping to break my world record (43.03 seconds), and to do that I need to ensure I am training alongside the world’s best sprinters.
“So I feel a temporary move to the United States will be in my best interests for the immediate future.”
3. Van Niekerk Will Think About Future After Tokyo
Van Niekerk said he will reassess his long-term plans at the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics in Japan later this summer.
Since suffering a serious injury in 2017 when he tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee playing in a celebrity tag rugby match in Cape Town, Van Niekerk has not been able to recapture his best form and has not competed outside of a few small meets in South Africa and Europe.
After returning to competition in 2019, he finished that campaign with a best of 47.28 and ended the 2020 term with a season-best 45.58.