Cape Town - He has been hard at work in training, but now Wayde van Niekerk is getting ready to run in a competitive race once again.
After the disappointment of missing out on the final in defence of his Olympic 400m title in Tokyo last year, Van Niekerk returned to his new training base in the US, and seems to have adapted well to life in Florida.
He has been putting in the hard yards on the practice track under the watchful eye of renowned American coach Lance Brauman, and looks in great shape physically ahead of a busy 2022, where the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – both in July – are the highlights of the calendar.
Off the track, Van Niekerk also became a father for the first time, with wife Chesney giving birth to their son, Elijah Luca, last November, and the family spent their first Christmas in the US after arriving there last May.
His manager, Peet van Zyl, told IOL Sport this week that the 29-year-old cannot wait to race competitively again, and that will happen soon.
“Wayde will run one or two races in America early in April, and he will probably be in South Africa a week or two before the SA championships. I am busy looking for flight tickets for him, Chesney and little Eli,” Van Zyl said.
Lactic united 😂![CDATA]>😂![CDATA]>😂— Wayde van Niekerk (@WaydeDreamer) February 11, 2022
Surround yourself with people who will push you to your limits.
Fun fact: This week was my first time ever throwing up during a track workout 🙃![CDATA]>🙃![CDATA]>🙃#QuietStormSeason
📸 @josephus_lyles & #Fifteen27Productions pic.twitter.com/MWKfEbhQih
It is unclear whether Van Niekerk will start off with the 400m, or ease into things in the 100m and 200m in the US before the South African championships, which will take place at the Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town from April 21-23.
The 400m world record-holder participated in the 200m event only at last year’s national championships in Pretoria, winning the title comfortably in 20.38 seconds.
Van Niekerk’s good friend, 100m sprinter Akani Simbine, has also been preparing for the new season, and Van Zyl added that the latter is likely to line up in some of the Athletics SA Grand Prix events later this month.