The 200m is next, says van Niekerk

March 16, 2017
Usain Bolt (left) and Van Niekerk (right) during a training session in Jamaica in 2016.

Olympic Games 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa says now that he has conquered the world record in the one lap event he will be focusing on the 200m.

The world record of 19.19 seconds is held by Jamaican Usain Bolt with whom Van Niekerk spent some time training here in Jamaica at the Racers Track Club last year.

"The 200m is actually my favourite event. It's why I'm doing track and field because I want to achieve so much in the 200m. Now that I have achieved what I have in the 400m it will give me more time to focus on the 200m," Van Niekerk said during the latest edition of the International Association of Athletics Federations online magazine Inside Athletics.

 

TRYING TO SURVIVE

 

Van Niekerk, 24, said training in Jamaica helped him gain the confidence he needed to achieve all he needed last year including breaking Michael Johnson's 17-year-old world record.

"We were expecting some expect some Mecca when you get to Kingston some kingdom but then you realise they're just trying to survive in track and field like ourselves and realising we're all human beings doing what we can do best," he told interviewer Ato Boldon.

"Immediately I started interacting with all the guys in Coach Mills' group and you start realising there is no difference and it just opened a massive door for me mentally ... you gain so much confidence training with these guys you expect them to be miles away from you but before you now it you might be ahead or along with someone," he added.

Bolt himself was one of the first to acknowledge Van Niekerk's abilities when he noted that the quartermiler had the ability to run times no one had seen before.

- D.B.

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