Van Niekerk: I’m just doing me

July 21, 2017
Wayde van Niekerk (right) of South Africa winning the men's 400 metres in 43.62 seconds at the Lausanne Diamond League meet in Switzerland earlier this month.



SOUTH AFRICAN World 400m record holder Wade Van Niekerk doesn't worry about beating times anymore, he just goes out there to 'do' him.

On the eve of the Diamond League event in Monaco the Olympic 400m champion was asked if he believed the 200m world record set by Usain Bolt in 2009 was beatable.

He said: "I don't believe in unbeatable anymore I am just going to go out there and do me."

On his own world record time in the one lap sprint he didn't rule out one day running sub-43 seconds, a feat many are still yet to get their head around let alone contemplate it actually being done.

"I can definitely think of (running) 42 seconds, but after the comma we'll keep that as a question mark.

"If you think about it, at the age of 24 last year running a 43.03 which is so close to running a sub (43) it is definitely something we need to aim for. There is no use me still doing track and field if I am not going to aim for bettering what I am doing and I want to make a valid attempt at improving it so, I'd like to believe I'd eventually get there. I just need to have the right race, right conditions and the perfect moment and I am sure it will happen."

With many rueing the day Bolt finally hangs up his spikes, Van Niekerk was asked if he was the man to fill the inevitable void that will be left not just by Bolt as an athlete but also by Bolt the personality.

"I've had that chat with Bolt (about that) quite a few times already," Van Niekerk admitted.

He added: "I find it incredibly difficult to even come close to what Bolt has represented with his charismatic ways and so on but at the end of the day you just need to be you. I am going to go out there and showcase who I am and at the end of the day it is performances that makes me a great athlete but I don't need to change who I am to become more favourable.

"I am just really going to do me and hopefully it will win hearts over as I am. But I think, obviously, Usain has set the bar quite high both with his personality and his performances so it's tough for us."

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