LONDON (July 23) – South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk prevailed in the men’s 400m race at the Wanda Diamond League in London on Sunday, holding off a fierce challenge from American runners Bryce Deadmon and Vernon Norwood in the closing meters.
Van Niekerk, who clocked a winning time of 44.36 seconds, expressed his determination to continue improving and growing in the event as he continues his push to regain the world track and field championships title in Budapest, next month.
- Read more: Femke Bol, Noah Lyles, Marie-Josee Ta Lou star at London Diamond League
- Read more: Latest track and field results: London Diamond League 2023 results (July 23)
The 2016 Olympic champion won the second of his two world titles in London in 2017, clocking 43.98 seconds.
“To an extent, I wanted to replicate the result I had here six years ago,” he said after his race on Sunday. “Last time I ran here, I was so much more in control of the 400m than this year.
“There’s a bit more of a fight needed from me, so I’m glad that I could put down a fight today and show myself that I can fight through difficult days too and get a victory.”
Van Niekerk Striving To Win World Track and Field Championships
Van Niekerk, who is the fourth fastest in the world this season with his dominating performance of 44.08 at the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial Diamond League meeting on 16 July, is aiming to compete for medals at the upcoming competition in Budapest.
“Physically, I’m ticking all the right boxes, so hopefully, I can just use this for myself as a reference moving forward to just constantly improve and grow,” he added.
“Then, when I get to Budapest, I can compete for medals. It’s still a love/hate relationship, 400m has never been my favorite event, but it has definitely been the most rewarding.
“I need to honor the sport that’s got me where I am today, and hopefully, I can finish top. I’m top three in the world now, so in Budapest, I’ll be fighting for a medal, and I know I have the abilities to grow and improve by then.”
Van Niekerk got away aggressively under cloudy conditions and ideal temperature at the Olympic Stadium in London at the Diamond League meeting on Sunday, covering the first 200m at 21.15 seconds and going past 300m at 32.30 seconds.
However, the 31-year-old needed to dig deep into his reserves to hold off Americans Deadmon and Norwood, who finished second and third, respectively, clocked times of 44.40 and 44.46 seconds.
“I feel good, it’s not my best race, but it’s been good for me being over here in Europe for a week and a half now,” U.S. champion Deadmon, who improved on his sixth-place finish in Skolimowska.
“It was a good time for me to put in right before the World Championships.
“When I start hurting, I dig down and tune everything out until I cross the finish line. I tried to pick up around the 100m mark for my final kick, and it came through today, so I can’t complain.”
At the end of the track and field schedule last week, the current world leader in the men’s 400m is Olympic champion Steven Gardiner from the Bahamas with a time of 43.74 seconds.
He is followed on the world’s top list by Commonwealth Games champion Muzala Samukonga from Zambia with 43.91A, and Jamaica’s national record holder Rusheen McDonald (44.03).
For more information about the men’s 400m and world track and field top list, click this link