CAPE TOWN — There was great relief for Wayde van Niekerk on Wednesday, as scans on his right hip revealed “very minimal” damage.
The 400m Olympic champion pulled up during a 200m race at the Adidas Boost Boston Games on Sunday night.
Having made a fine start and going smoothly up to the 150m mark on the straight-line street-track, Van Niekerk suddenly stopped in full stride, and jogged to the finish line to end fourth in a time of 20.86 seconds.
Canadian Jerome Blake ran a personal best of 19.89 to win the event.
After the race, Van Niekerk was bending over with his hands on his knees, and he eventually went to sit down before being helped up by Briton Zharnel Hughes. He was seen chatting to his new coach, Lance Brauman, and pointed to his right hip a few times.
The NBC commentator Lewis Johnson said afterwards that Brauman had assured him that Van Niekerk would be “okay”, and that the 28-year-old had walked back to his hotel without the limp that was seen on the live TV coverage.
On Wednesday, his agent Peet van Zyl told IOL Sport that Van Niekerk had gone for scans on his right hip, and that the feedback from Brauman to him was that the doctor had said the damage was “very minimal”, and that Van Niekerk “should be fine in a couple of days with some normal function exercise work”.
Having said soon after the race that it was “nothing serious”, the 400m world record-holder posted on social media on Tuesday: “As every weakness appears, I find an area to improve. I’m getting stronger and faster!!! I see so many positives and I can’t wait to show you how the Lord works through me. My times are creeping closer each day!!! BACK TO WORK! #TimetoRoar”
Van Niekerk was set to run his first 400m race of the year in Florida this week, and it is still uncertain whether that will happen.
Van Zyl said that he will be speaking to Brauman on Thursday to see how training was going and what the decision would be with regards to the race.
He has yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in any distance. He will need to eclipse 44.90 seconds in the 400m, 20.24 in the 200m and 10.05 in the 100m, while he can also still make himself available for the 4x100m relay team.
Sascoc will announce some of the Team SA squads for the Olympics on Thursday, including athletics, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, sailing, sport climbing and surfing.