Independent Online

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Spirits are still high, says disappointed Wayde van Niekerk after pulling out of SA champs

Spirits are still high and hopefully I can get back on the track, says disappointed Wayde van Niekerk after pulling out of SA champs. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Spirits are still high and hopefully I can get back on the track, says disappointed Wayde van Niekerk after pulling out of SA champs. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Published Apr 21, 2022

Share

Cape Town – Wayde van Niekerk says his spirits are “still high”, and that he will keep working hard to attain his best shape after being forced to withdraw from the South African athletics championships on Thursday due to a hamstring injury.

It was supposed to be a homecoming for Van Niekerk this week, with the 29-year-old 400m world record-holder set to run in the 100m and 200m on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in his former home town.

Story continues below Advertisement

His mother, Odessa, had been a top young athlete under the non-racial banner during apartheid, and was denied the opportunity to compete at such top facilities as the Green Point Athletics Stadium.

Van Niekerk had grown up in Cape Town before moving with his family to Bloemfontein as a teenager, and his Mother City fans were waiting to cheer him on over the next few days.

But on Thursday, the 2016 Rio Olympics champion in the one-lap event announced his withdrawal from the competition due to a hamstring injury that he had sustained in training in Bloemfontein, having arrived back in South Africa from his US training base in Florida last week.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Akani Simbine wants to dominate, Jingqi under ‘no pressure’ at SA champs

Van Niekerk and his management team felt that due to a packed international season ahead, with the African championships, world championships and Commonwealth Games to come later in the year, it was not worth the risk to compete at the SA championships.

Van Niekerk was actually on the 100m starting list released by the organisers late on Wednesday night for heat four on Thursday morning, and if he had gone all the way to the final, it would have been a thrilling prospect of seeing him up against SA record-holder and good friend Akani Simbine in the afternoon.

Story continues below Advertisement

But it was not to be.

“I’m disappointed to have to withdraw from the national championships (starting on Thursday). I was excited to compete this week, but unfortunately things have not been going my way the last few weeks,” Van Niekerk said in a statement on Thursday.

“But my spirits are definitely still high, and I’m going to keep putting in the hard work. Hopefully I can get back on the track, and show you guys the hard work that I’ve put out there.

Story continues below Advertisement

“But for now, I’m looking forward to getting back to work and doing what needs to be done. Thank you to all for the love and support so far, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. God bless.”

@ashfakmohamed

Story continues below Advertisement

Related Topics:

Wayde van Niekerk

Share