JOHANNESBURG – Vowing to produce the “ridiculous”, Wayde van Niekerk made true on his promise as he smashed the 300m world best at the Ostrava Golden Spike with a time of 30.81 seconds on Wednesday night.
Van Niekerk erased yet another Michael Johnson world mark when he knocked 0.04 off the time the American set in Pretoria back in 2000.
Bunny-hopping past Jamaican legend Usain Bolt and Johnson on the all-time list, Van Niekerk improved his previous African mark of 31.03.
Competing ahead of Bolt’s first European race of the season, Van Niekerk also erased the Jamaican’s meet record to signal a changing of the guard.
Lining up next to Van Niekerk, compatriot Clarence Munyai smashed his 300m personal best in what appears to be a new world junior record of 31.61.
The previous world junior best of 32.08, held by America’s Steve Lewis, was posted in a one-lap race. Munyai took more than a second off the national junior best of 32.87 he clocked earlier this year.
On the eve of the meeting, Van Niekerk told the media he would take a stab at Johnson’s world best.
“It’s not really an official event, so I’m going to go out there and be ridiculous, I’ve got nothing to lose,” Van Niekerk said.
“It’s the only 300m of the year. I’ll try and give you a show.”
Wayde van Niekerk deserves to be the new face of Athletics.
Sub-10 in the 100m
Sub-20 in the 200m
WR in the 300m
WR in the 400m
Van Niekerk is making a habit of erasing Johnson’s global marks after he smashed the American’s 400m record at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He raced to an incredible 43.03 at the Olympic Games, knocking 0.15 off Johnson’s previous mark.
The South African is making the strongest possible statement that he is the heir apparent to Bolt’s throne as the world’s sprinting king.
Boasting a personal best of 9.94 in the 100m and 19.84 in the 200m, Van Niekerk has proven his incredible ability over the shorter distance too.
He is the only man to have gone under 10, 20, 31, and 44 in the 100, 200, 300 and 400m distances.
It also proved to be a breakthrough evening for 100m hurdles ace Rikenette Steenkamp, who dipped below 13 seconds for the first time.
Steenkamp finished second in her short hurdles final, posting a new personal best of 12.99 and edging her within 0.05 of Corien Botha’s national record of 12.94.
She stopped the clock 0.01 short of the A-qualifying time for the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
Steenkamp finished second behind Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz, who produced a winning time of 12.72.
Earlier, female sprinter Alyssa Conley raced to second place in the half-lap sprint, posting a time of 23.03. Conley finished behind Marie Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, who crossed the line in a time of 22.44.
South African 110m hurdles record-holder Antonio Alkana’s night did not quite go according to plan as he knocked the fifth hurdle before clipping the sixth to finish in fourth place in 13.37.