Wayde van Niekerk set for first race in SA since Covid-19 outbreak

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Olympic 400m champion, Wayde van Niekerk, has confirmed his participation in his first athletics meeting in South Africa since Covid-19 brought a halt to the sport back in March.

Van Niekerk memorably won the gold medal for South Africa in the 400m at the Rio Olympics in 2016 running out of Lane 8.

VAN NIEKERK WILL GAUGE FITNESS AND PROGRESS

The Athletics Central North West will host an open track and field event at the NWU McArthur Stadium in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.

Van Niekerk is taking the opportunity to gauge his fitness and progress since being laid low by Covid-19 while based in Italy and said he’s “excited to see how my body feels again in a race situation”.

Van Niekerk, 28, tested positive for Covid-19 – and then negative – within a few days in August, but strict quarantine protocols meant he wasn’t able to train for nearly four weeks.

Since his return to the country, Van Niekerk has been hard at work regaining his fitness under the watchful eye of coach Tannie Ans.

With Athletics South Africa (ASA) allowing athletes to return to full training and competition from November 1, Van Niekerk is itching to get going again in preparation for this year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics which are now scheduled for mid-2021.

FREAK KNEE INJURY ALMOST ENDED HIS CAREER

“With me not being fully satisfied with my comeback this year due to me being diagnosed with Covid-19 and not being able to participate in the races I would’ve like to, I’m grateful to Athletics Northwest for hosting an event for athletes to compete competitively again.

“I am looking forward to competing in the 400m event and excited to see how my body feels again in a race situation.

“This will give me a great indication to see where I am at in my training and what needs to be done to get into a positive momentum physically and mentally towards 2021. Time: 17:30 #QuietStorm #Pray1st #Forty3”

Van Niekerk posted on his social media accounts.

After winning the gold medal in Rio de Janiero in a world record time of 43.03, Van Niekerk was laid low by a freak knee injury sustained in a celebrity touch rugby match at Newlands in 2017.

Van Niekerk’s race in Potchefstroom will start at 17:30.

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