Cape Town – Watch out, athletics world – there is an heir to the Wayde van Niekerk throne.
Wayde’s wife Chesney gave birth to their son, Elijah Luca van Niekerk, last week Wednesday in Florida, United States, where the 2016 Olympic champion is part of a training group under renowned coach Lance Brauman.
But the former 400m world champion revealed the good news only late on Monday night on social media.
Van Niekerk posted two pictures of him with Elijah, one with his hand on his son’s head and another where he was holding his hand, with the words: “Elijah Luca van Niekerk 24/11/2021”
The couple received well wishes from across the sports fraternity. Cricket star Vernon Philander wrote on Twitter, “Congrats to you and the mrs… Blessings all the way”, fellow former Proteas player Ashwell Prince stated, “Congrats to you and Chesney champ!” and JP Duminy wrote on Instagram: “Congrats guys”.
Springbok rugby players Bryan Habana and Tendai Mtawarira also sent messages to the new parents.
Several Olympic athletes also sent their best wishes. Chad le Clos wrote: “Congrats guys”, American sprinter Fred Kerley said “Congrats fam”, while Florida training partner and Bahamas star Shaunae Miller-Uibo, a two-time 400m Olympic champion, said “The young king has arrived”
Elijah Luca van Niekerk— Wayde van Niekerk (@WaydeDreamer) November 29, 2021
24/11/2021 🤍![CDATA]>🥰 pic.twitter.com/ZXUMcJ8LGk
Wayde replied on his Insta stories with: “Thank you for all your messages. We are truly blessed and thankful.”
The Van Niekerks moved to America from Bloemfontein earlier this year so that Wayde could prepare for the Tokyo Olympics with his new coach Brauman, after opting for a fresh start following a long association with his previous coach, Ans Botha.
His departure from South Africa was delayed for a few months after awaiting clearance from the US authorities to be able to travel to Florida, and he arrived there only in May.
But his battles with injuries affected his progress, and he had to bow out of the Tokyo Olympics at the semi-final stage of the 400m event, where he finished fourth in his race.
The world record-holder, though, has been hard at work in training over the last few weeks, and is hoping for a more successful 2022, with the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, as well as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, looming as the two major competitions.