When we wrote that South African sprinter, Wayne van Niekerk, is the next big thing in athletics, we gave concrete reasons. Whether you believed us or not, on Wednesday, the 24-year-old gave another reason why he’s the real MVP. He broke the world record in the 300 metres!
The rarely-run 300 metres was part of the events at Golden Spike Ostrava, an annual athletics competition in the Czech Republic where van Niekerk made his first professional appearance in 2014. Running in lane five, he sped past Botswana’s Isaac Makwala to finish in a record time of 30.81 seconds.
This record replaces that of American, Michael Johnson, who finished in 30.85 seconds in Pretoria in 2000. And this isn’t the first time van Niekerk is shoving Johnson out of the history book. At last year’s Rio Olympics, the South African broke the 400 metres world record held by Johnson for 17 years.
At Golden Spike, van Niekerk also broke the Ostrava meeting record of 30.97 seconds set by Usain Bolt in 2010. Reuters reports that van Niekerk spoke with Czech Television after the race, saying:
“I have been improving each in every in of my events. So, it is a great step for the year and I am feeling quite confident for the rest of the year.”
Speaking of confidence, Bolt (who won the men’s 400 metres race at the competition) is dead sure that van Niekerk is the athlete to succeed him as the king of track and field. According to Bolt, van Niekerk has shown that he’s ready for the challenge, and if he continues listening and improving he’ll take over track and field.
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