World record holder Wayde van Niekerk is expected to open his 2022 season in April, according to the sprinter’s manager. Van Niekerk hasn’t competed since his disappointing semi-final exit in the 400m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, last summer, but has apparently fully recovered from his injuries, and is now looking forward to the busy campaign.
The South African endured a challenging 2021 season to compete at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, but failed to defend the 400m title he won at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on his way to setting the world record at 43.03 seconds. Read more: Wayde van Niekerk Break 400m WR At Rio2016
After taking some time off to spend with his family and welcome the birth of his son, Van Niekerk returned to training at his training base here in Florida, USA, where he and his coach Lance Brauman put together a plan in an attempt to get the sprinter back to full fitness.
Van Niekerk ready for busy 2022 season
According to Ashfak Mohamed of the Independent Online, the 29-year-old “looks in great shape physically” and he can’t wait to return to racing competitively again. It is suggested that Van Niekerk, who is targeting the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games titles this year, could run a couple of races in the United States in early April before flying back to South Africa to stage his final preparations for the national championships later in the month.
“Wayde will run one or two races in America early in April,” his manager, Peet van Zyl was quoted as saying in an IOL Sport report, which can be found here. “He will probably be in South Africa a week or two before the SA championships. I am busy looking for flight tickets for him, Chesney, and little Eli.” Read more: Van Niekerk To Train With Miller-Uibo, Targets 400m World Record Again
Last year Van Niekerk opened his season in March and raced mostly in the 200m on home soil in South Africa before running his first 400m in Madrid in mid-June. The world record holder, though, struggled with injuries during the campaign and made a shocking and disappointing early exit in the event in Tokyo, after finishing fifth in his semi-final heat in 45.14 seconds.
He believes 2022 will be the year he finally returns to fruitfulness and is hoping to be in peak shape for the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July.
It remains unclear whether Van Niekerk will actually kick-start his new season in his specialty or a shorter event, but recent history suggests that the all-purpose sprinter is in line to open over the 200m.
The 2022 South African championships will take place in Cape Town from April 21-23.