Wayde van Niekerk has improved his 100m time in Slovenia. Photo: Brian Snyder, Reuters

Wayde van Niekerk proved he is the sprint king heir apparent in Velenje, Slovenia on Tuesday night when he clocked a new personal best in the 100m.

Van Niekerk raced to a time of 9.94 seconds, the second sub-10 in his career, to showcase his phenomenal range over all sprint distances.

It was a red-letter day for the South African sprinters as they claimed a 1-2-3 finish. Emile Erasmus clocked 10.12 for second, with Henricho Bruintjies bagging bronze in 10.14.

Van Niekerk improved his personal best, which he set in March 2016 in Bloemfontein, by 0.04 to confirm his status as one of the world's greatest sprinters of all time.

He has demonstrated incredible versatility in the 100m, 200m and 400m, and is the only man to have gone sub-10, sub-20, and sub-44 times over all three distances respectively.

Van Niekerk has been ripping up the track in the 200m this season, boasting a world-leading and South African record time of 19.84 he posted just over a week ago in KingstonJamaica.

He has been flying below the radar in his specialist one-lap sprint this season, and will get into the blocks in the 300m at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting at the end of the month before lining up in his first international 400m race of the season in Lausanne in July.

Top SA 100m hurdler Rikenette Steenkamp came painstakingly closer to breaching 13 seconds in Velenje, winning her race in a time of 13.03.

Steenkamp was 0.01 off the personal best she posted in Potchefstroom to claim the national title. She fell just short of posting the B qualifying standard of 12.98, but would have to break the national record to meet the A standard of 12.77.

Corien Botha holds the South African record of 12.94, set back in 1998.

Meanwhile, double 100m-200m national champion Alyssa Conley was disqualified in her opening international half-lap race of the season in Velenje. Compatriot Tamzin Thomas won her race in a pedestrian time of 23.82 to walk away with the spoils.

The country’s top female long jumper, Lynique Prinsloo, missed out on a podium spot, finishing fourth with a best of 6.25m.

IOL Sport

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