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Wayde van Niekerk pulls out of SA Champs due to ‘things not going my way’

Wayde van Niekerk has pulled out of the SA Champs in Cape Town. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Wayde van Niekerk has pulled out of the SA Champs in Cape Town. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Apr 21, 2022

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Cape Town - The South African National Senior Track and Field Championships will kick off at the Green Point Athletics Stadium this morning without its marquee athlete.

Wayde Van Niekerk, the world 400m record holder and 2016 Olympic champion has pulled out of the event due to "things not going my way".

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Van Niekerk was set to represent Boland in the 200m and not his traditional one lapper.

IOL Sport has heard part of the audio message that Van Niekerk sent to Athletics South Africa (ASA) informing them of his withdrawal.

In it, the athlete who obliterated Michael Johnson's 400m record with an incredible run from the outside lane during the 2016 Rio Olympics to clock a new mark of 43:03 says he is gutted to be missing out on the championships.

The message will be played out to the crowd at the Greenpoint Athletics Staium this afternoon

"Hi guys, Wayde here. I just want to take a moment to express my disappointment for having to withdraw from the national championships.this week," he says "I was really excited and looking forward to compete (sic) this weekend but unfortunately things have not been going my way the last few weeks."

The withdrawal will come as a massive blow for ASA given that the majority of the tickets sold for the three-day event were largely due to people being eager to see Van Niekerk in action.

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It was hoped that Van Niekerk would use the championships as a way to begin his journey back to the top following miserably poor attempt at defending the Olympic title. The 29-year-old was knocked out in the semifinal at the belated Tokyo Games having struggled with injuries after

He has been training in Florida in the United States with new coach Lance Borman but has been home for a while now ahead of the Championships and nine days ago he tweeted about being "happy to be home and looking forward to the national champs".

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And that had whetted the local athletics fans appetite to seeing if he had overcome the Games disappointment.

Van Niekerk aid he nevertheless remained upbeat in spite of having to pull out of the national event.

"But my spirit is definitely still high and I am still going to keep on putting in the hard work and hopefully I can be back on the track and show you the hard work I've put out there.

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But for now I'll just get back to work and keep doing what needs to be done.

Thank you for the love and support this far I am looking forward to the rest of the season. God bless."

Many would feel he is the one who needs the blessings though, what with the IAAF World Championships and the Commonwealth Games both set to take place later this year.

Van Niekerk has not come out as to whether he will continue to compete at his traditional 400m event or if he will go down to the 200m in which he boasts an impressive sub 20 seconds time.

He is also not shabby in the 100m where he has run a sub 10.

The world though, will always see him as the 400m king, until someone breaks that fantastic 43:03 of his.

@Tshiliboy

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