Wayde van Niekerk won gold and silver medals at the world championships in London in 2017. Photo: Andy Rain/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk has picked up a knee injury in his comeback, placing him in doubt of being able to compete at the Doha World Championships from September 28 to October 6.

“Wayde was pushing hard in training to test himself before his upcoming races, as he wants to show he can be competitive when he makes his comeback,” said Peet van Zyl of In-Site Athlete Management.

“He had MRI scans which showed the ligaments and meniscus in his (right) knee were fine, but unfortunately he picked up a bone bruise which has set him back five or six weeks.

Van Niekerk, who successfully defended his 400m title and earned 200m silver at the IAAF World Championships in London two years ago, remains hopeful of targeting a third successive one-lap crown in Doha later this season. He has already qualified for the showpiece, receiving a wild card entry as the defending 400m champion.

He will, however, need to ensure he is ready and 100 percent healthy before he returns to competition.

Wayde van Niekerk in action in 2017. Photo: IAAF

“It’s very disappointing as I probably pushed myself too hard, but now I’m working towards the goal patiently and I will review my competition schedule with my team, and together with my coach (Ans Botha) we will decided where and when to race,” said Van Niekerk.

The international sprint sensation picked up medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, as well as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while participating in a celebrity touch-rugby match back in October 2017.

He underwent surgery in the United States, followed by six months of rehabilitation in Doha under the watchful eye of Dr Louis Holtzhausen, well-known sports medicine physician.

His participation in the Free State Championship on February 23 was the 26-year-old sprinter’s first competitive race since the injury and it ended in a victory with Van Niekerk winning the 400 metres in 47,28 seconds. 

African News Agency (ANA)