Wayde Van Niekerk named captain of the Running World Cup
Record breaker and 400m Olympic gold medalist, Wayde Van Niekerk, was on Thursday announced as the ambassador and captain at the newly launched Discovery Vitality Running World Cup in Sandton.
The World Cup will include 179 other countries, with the aim of encouraging people across the world to get more active as well as improve their health during the five-week long competition.
"The Vitality Running World Cup is an exciting, yet simple and accessible mass-participation event aimed at addressing a global issue - that we need to move more," said Dr Mosima Mabunda, the head of wellness at Vitality.
With the athletics icon captaining South Africa against such greats as Usain Bolt, Van Niekerk revealed he was confident the country would would take the cup.
"I'm excited to be captaining South Africa for the cup and to have the opportunity to encourage all South Africans to run with me for our country," said the 28-year-old athlete. "The competition gives everyone, regardless of their level of running, the chance to get moving. Together we can make South Africa fitter and healthier".
Van Niekerk has a tough job ahead of him, explaining that it will be up to him to convince South Africans to join the initiative.
"I'm still trying to convince my wife to join me in jogging and I'm not even winning that war but we are building a community and getting to know how diverse cultures are among one another," said Van Niekerk. "We need the unity as a country and this is another chance (after the Springbok won the Rugby World Cup) for South Africa to unite. That's what I strive for."
"I'm excited (about this initiative). Hopefully we will get the World Cup and the Olympics (in Tokyo later this year) as well," Van Niekerk said while laughing.