Van Niekerk lands historic sprinting mark in Bloemfontein – AthleticsAfrica
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Van Niekerk lands historic sprinting mark in Bloemfontein

South African World 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk claimed a historic sprinting landmark after clocking 9.98 PB at the Free State Championships in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Wayde van Niekerk after winning at the Meeting Areva on July 4 / Photo Credit: © Jiro Mochizuki / Giancarlo Colombo
Wayde van Niekerk after winning at the Meeting Areva on July 4 / Photo Credit: © Jiro Mochizuki / Giancarlo Colombo

The World 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk claimed a historic sprinting landmark after clocking 9.98 seconds personal best at the Free State Championships in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

[link id=”475″ tax=”post_tag” text=”Wayde van Niekerk”] thus became the first man in history to run faster than 10 seconds in the men’s 100m, a sub-20 seconds for 200m and a sub-44 seconds in the 400m.

The 23-year-old South African, who hasn’t competed in a 100m race since his junior days, broke his previous PB of 10.45 with a decent 10.12 seconds (-1.9m/s) in the Heats before dipping under 10 seconds in the final aided by a 1.5m/s following wind.

“It’s crazy,” Wayde van Niekerk wrote on Twitter.  “I’m truly grateful for this moment and appreciative of everyone’s support.”

Van Niekerk is the second South African sprinter this week to break the 10-second barrier for 100m after his compatriot [link id=”715″ tax=”post_tag” text=”Akani Simbine”] set a national record of 9.96 in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Competing at the Athletics Gauteng National Championships also today, Akani Simbine won the men’s 100m in a time of 10.01 secs.

Last year, Van Niekerk sets a South African 200m record of 19.94 seconds in Luzern and broke the African 300m record with 31.63 seconds in Birmingham, UK.

He later rose to fourth position on the world all-time list over 400m with his memorable 43.48 seconds victory at the [link id=”10419″ text=”IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015″].

Meanwhile American Michael Johnson, the owner of the 400m world record, led the tributes to Wayde van Niekerk after his historic feat in Bloemfontein.

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Johnson expressed his admiration for van Niekerk’s achievement on Twitter:

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Yomog Meje is a former Nigerian junior athlete and the Associate editor at Athletics Africa.

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