Wayde van Niekerk on Boston 200m race: I tightened up a bit
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CAPE TOWN - There was some relief for Wayde van Niekerk after he pulled up with a hip issue towards the end of his 200m race at the Adidas Boost Boston Games on Sunday night.
The South African 400m Olympic champion and world record-holder was running his first race since joining new coach Lance Brauman in Florida earlier this month in his much-publicised move to the United States to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.
Van Niekerk has yet to run a 400m race this year, with Brauman advising him to do 100m and 200m events up to now.
On a windy evening on Boylston Street in Boston, the 28-year-old made a strong start to the 200m, quickly building up his speed and edging ahead of British athlete Zharnel Hughes.
But around the 150m mark, Van Niekerk suddenly slowed down, favouring his left leg. He jogged slowly across the finish line to end fourth in 20.86 seconds, well behind winner Jerome Blake of Canada, who produced a personal best of 19.89, with Hughes second in 19.93 – also a personal best – and Aldrich Bailey Jnr of the US third in 20.45.
Van Niekerk hobbled a bit before opting to sit down on the makeshift track. He was helped back on to his feet by Hughes, before eventually chatting with his coach on the sidelines.
He pointed to his right hip, and limped away barefoot after removing his spikes.
NBC broadcaster Lewis Johnson, who was conducting the post-race TV interviews with the athletes, said immediately afterwards and later on Twitter: “Lance (Brauman) said that he got a little tight in his right hip, and Wayde decided not to push through the rest of the run. He said that was the right decision, but he assured me that Wayde would be okay.
Thanks for the care - I am well. Nothing serious. 👍![CDATA]>🏽 I tightened up a bit so didn’t push it. @adidasBoostBos— Wayde van Niekerk (@WaydeDreamer) May 24, 2021
“Track fans I was in such a rush…running to get back to the mic to report on @WaydeDreamer that I did not mention he walked back to the hotel WITHOUT that initial limp you saw on TV. Great to see that and know we all wish him the best.”
Van Niekerk confirmed the good news, posting on his social media channels on Monday morning SA time: “Thanks for the care - I am well. Nothing serious. I tightened up a bit, so didn’t push it.”
It remains to be seen when Van Niekerk will be in action again, with his agent Peet van Zyl telling IOL Sport last week that the 400m world record-holder was set to run a one-lap event in Florida soon.