LUZERN, Switzerland — Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk continued his preparations for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games with a 400m winning performance at the 2021 Spitzen Leichtathletik meeting, held at the Stadion Allmend in Luzern, Switzerland, on Tuesday night.
Van Niekerk, who is looking to improve his competitive shape ahead of the Games in Japan next month, clocked 44.87 seconds to win the race after pulling away from the rest of the field in the final 100m.
The South African who owns the world record at 43.03 seconds, set on his way to winning the Olympic title at the 2016 Rio Games, would have hoped to improve on his season-best of 44.56s at the Meeting Madrid 2021 in Spain on June 19, but he will be happy to finish the race in good health.
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Crossing the finishing line behind van Niekerk was Irishman Christopher O’Donnell who clocked a personal best of 45.55s while third place went to American Vernon Norwood, the fifth-place finisher at the recently concluded 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.
The men’s 100m, in the meantime, was won by South African sprinter Akani Simbine with his fellow countryman Thando Dlodlo following home.
Simbine took the victory in 10.11 seconds (-0.2m/s) running into a slight headwind, as the runner-up spot went to Dlodlo with a time of 10.20s.
The women’s 100m was captured by Ivorian world bronze medalist Marie-Josee Ta Lou who posted a time of 11.09s (-0.4m/s) to beat Swiss sprinter Mujinga Kambundji (11.24) and the USA’s Kayla White (11.31). The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers continued to struggle with her form this season after she only finished fourth in 11.41.
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In the field events action, 2015 World Championships gold medalist Johannes Vetter of Germany picked up the win in the men’s Javelin throw with a mark of 92.14m, with two-time Olympic champion and reigning Games silver medalist Valerie Adams of New Zealand, staying undefeated this outdoor season by picking up her sixth victory with an 18.91m effort to win the women’s Shot Put.
Elsewhere, European champion Christin Hussong of Germany threw 64.02m for first place in the women’s Javelin contest, compatriot Samantha Borutta won the Hammer competition with a mark of 69.38m, while Ruswahl Samaai of South Africa took the men’s long jump with an effort of 8.06m.