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Wayde can make history, says ASA

Athletics

JOHANNESBURG – Wayde van Niekerk will have an opportunity to attempt a rare double at the IAAF World Championships, after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) cleared the way for him to run the 200m and 400m events at the biennial spectacle, to be held in London on August 4-13.

This follows a special request made by Athletics South Africa (ASA), after Van Niekerk showed interest in attempting the rare double.

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Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk will try to emulate Michael Johnson at the world championships. Picture: Antoine de Ras

“Following requests from the athletics federations of the Bahamas and South Africa to amend the timetable to better allow for a 200m/400m doubling opportunity, (the IAAF) Council has approved changes to the timetable,” the international body said in a statement.

There were three changes made to the programme for the biennial championships:

* Men’s 200m Round 1 moved from Day 5 (8 Aug) to Day 4 (7 Aug)

* Women’s 200m Round 1 moved from Day 6 (9 Aug) to Day 5 (8 Aug)

* Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 moved from Day 5 (8 Aug) to Day 6 (9 Aug).

“We are excited at ASA that the IAAF Council has acceded to our request to have the long-standing schedule changed to accommodate our athlete who wants to make history by doubling the 200m and 400m events,” said ASA president Aleck Skhosana.

“It is now up to Wayde and his coach to work towards achieving their goal of winning both these events at the IAAF World Championships.”

Van Niekerk will aim to become the first man in 22 years to achieve the sprint double.

Former 200m and 400m world record holder Michael Johnson of the United States is the only man to have achieved the feat, after winning both gold medals in Gothenburg in 1995.

Athletics South Africa
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