Athletics

Wayde van Niekerk continues successful comeback with 60m victory

Olympic 400m champion and world record holder clocks 6.62s before rain stopped him running the 150m in Potchefstroom.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Wayde van Niekerk continued his comeback from injury and a positive coronavirus test with victory over 60m in Potchefstroom on Tuesday (10th November).

Running in lane four, van Niekerk was away slowly with Ruan Potgieter getting a flyer on the inside and Theodor Young also starting quickly.

But the reigning Olympic 400m champion cruised through in the second half of the race to win his first ever race at the distance in 6.62s with Tsebo Matsoso taking second ahead of Young.

He was due to run again in the 150m, but a rain storm hit the track 40 minutes before his return to the track and the meeting was eventually cancelled with the track announcer saying van Niekerk would be back next Tuesday at 400m.

This was the sprinter's second competitive outing in South Africa after the government relaxed restrictions on training and competitions in the country at the start of November.

He won last week over 400 metres despite slipping in the starting blocks which broke as he set off.

In September, six weeks after testing positive for coronavirus, he triumphed in his first race outside of South Africa since the 2017 World Championships in the 400m in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

Van Niekerk on the comeback trail

The South African star ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while playing in a charity touch rugby match in Cape Town in October 2017.

It has been a long road back for the 28-year-old who had to postpone his planned comeback in 2019 due to bone bruising on his knee.

He finally returned to action in February, winning over 100m and 200m on a grass track in Bloemfontein.

With the Covid pandemic forcing the cancellation of several athletics meetings worldwide, van Niekerk was set to run in Trieste, Italy at the start of August when he tested positive for coronavirus.

Speaking to Olympic Channel in April, he said he wanted to break his own 400m world record of 43.03s set in the final at Rio 2016.

"If I don’t go sub-43 that means I am not growing. There’s no other goal than the sub-43 right now. That’s what I am working for and that’s where I want to be at."