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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — World 400 meters record holder Wayde van Niekerk has been forced to delay his season debut after he withdrew from the South African Senior Track and Field Championships in Cape Town this week with a hamstring problem.

After a long delay, Van Niekerk, who won the Rio 2016 Olympic 400m title and owns several world-class personal best for 100m, 200m, and 400m events, was set to finally make his 2022 season debut in the 100m and 200m races at the ASA senior national championships at Green Point Stadium.

However, the all-around sprinter will not compete this week after picking up a hamstring injury shortly after arriving in Bloemfontein last week. Read more: Wayde Van Niekerk to open season in April – Agent

Van Niekerk Disappointed About Setback

“I’m disappointed to have to withdraw from the national championships (starting on Thursday),” Van Niekerk said. “I was excited to compete this week, but unfortunately, things have not been going my way the last few weeks.”

The 29-year-old who trains in Florida, USA, under the guidance of coach Lance Brauman, was expected to open his season earlier this month, but different circumstances forced him to delay his outdoor campaign.

Despite experiencing another setback in kicking off his 2022 term, Van Niekerk remains in high spirit.

“My spirits are still high and I’m going to keep putting in the hard work,” he added “For now, I’m looking forward to getting back to work and doing what needs to be done.

“Thanks to everyone for the love and support, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The two-time world 400m champion in 2015 and 2017, was set to be one of many highlighted stars competing in Cape Town, with the likes of Akani Simbine and Caster Semenya also slated to grace the track.

Live TV and online streaming coverage will continue on SuperSport on Friday morning from 9:50 a.m. —South Africa time or 3:50 a.m. ET, then from 7:20 a.m. local time, which is 1:20 a.m. ET on Saturday morning.

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