RIO DE JANEIRO – South African track and field sprinter Wayde van Niekerk won gold in the men’s 400 meters category and set the new world record at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.
Van Niekerk, running in the unfavoured lane eight, blasted off the final corner to time 43.03sec, 0.15sec quicker than Michael Johnson’s previous world best set in Seville in 1999, a record that had taken on mythical-like standing.
“I believed I could get the world record,” the 24-year-old South African said.
“I’ve dreamed of this medal since forever. I am blessed.”
Defending champion Kirani James of Grenada took silver in 43.76sec, with American Lashawn Merritt bronze (43.85).
“Congrats to Wayde on the new world record. I’m happy to be part of a race that made history. We have put this sport on a pedestal,” James said, adding that 400m runners normally have the habit of tying up as they hit the home stretch.
“Usually that’s what happens, the guys slow down a bit! But when you keep going like that, there’s going to be world records. It shows that there’s always room for guys to improve. He just did that and exemplified that.”
Thank you to everyone…