van Niekerk ready to take over - Bolt

June 29, 2017
Usain Bolt sprints with Wayde van Niekerk (right) with coach Glen Mills looking on in the distance at the UWI Mona Bowl during the South African's training stint at the Racers Track Club last year.
Usain Bolt (centre right) embraces South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk after winning the "Salute to a Legend" 100m at the recent JN Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium.
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Track and field's poster boy Usain Bolt believes South African speedster Wayde van Niekerk is ready to take over when he leaves the sport later this year.

Both athletes headlined yesterday's Golden Spikes meet in Ostrava and Bolt, the eight time Olympic champion is convinced that van Niekerk, who holds the world record for the 400m, is capable of taking over as the sport's biggest draw.

van Niekerk, who won gold medals at the 2015 World Championships as well as at last year's Olympic Games, led home the rarely-contested 300m in a world's best time of 30.81.

In addition to defending his 400m world title, he will be contesting the 200m at the World Championships in London this August.

Van Niekerk's 300m time bettered the previous best time of 30.85 seconds, set by Michael Johnson in 2000, in Pretoria, South Africa.

"I'm so pleased and grateful for the big achievement. I'm honoured to be a small part of history," Van Niekerk said. "I have to rest a little but after that I hope I can continue to make baby steps to be better day by day."

Bolt added that he believes the 400m specialist is determined to make a mark in the shorter sprints and thinks he will take over the sport in the years to come.

"I think he (van Niekerk) really wants to be a sprinter," Bolt said. "He has shown that he's ready for the challenge. For me, he's on the right track. If he continues like this he will take over the track and field."

van Niekerk ran 43.03 seconds at the Olympics last year and also boasts sub-10 seconds personal best in the 100m and a sub-20 seconds best in the 200m.

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