Wayde van Niekerk grateful for development under Tannie Ans Botha
“I’ve spent most of my career under the guidance of Tannie Ans Botha at my home base in Bloemfontein and I can’t express the gratitude I have for everything she has done to help me to this point in my career‚” Van Niekerk said in the statement.
“As much as I have enjoyed my experience with Tannie Ans and her group‚ I am hoping to break my world record and to do that I need to ensure I am training alongside the world’s best sprinters.
“So I feel a temporary move to the US will be in my best interests for the immediate future. I look forward to working with my new coach and training partners‚ and I hope to continue carrying the SA flag with pride at international level.”
Van Niekerk is yet to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games which take place in 2021. He injured his right knee playing touch rugby late in 2017 and since has not competed at an international level with consistency.
Blanka Vlasic retires
Meanwhile, two-time Olympic medal-winning high jumper Blanka Vlasic has ruled herself out of contention from Tokyo 2020 for definite.
The popular Croatian officially confirmed her retirement after a series of injury struggles.
“I will always stay in the sport. With my experience and knowledge, I want to permanently and actively contribute to the further development of world athletics and sports in general,” she said.