South Africa's van Niekerk sets 400m Diamond League record

Patrice Gainsbourg
Julho 7, 2017

Van Niekerk, who plans on doing the 200m-400m double at the world championships in London next month, insisted he had no time goal for tonight, adding he would not be disappointed if he failed to break 44 seconds.

He broke the 21-year-old meeting record of 43.66 which had been held by Michael Johnson, with the South African speedster shattering yet another of the American legend's long-standing marks. It was also an IAAF Diamond League record.

Van Niekerk ran a measured race as he went out in what seemed like a leisurely run, but still managed to lead from start to finish.

It was an African 1-2-3 in Lausanne in the 400m, with Baboleki Thebe and former continental record-holder Isaac Makwala from Botswana finishing behind Van Niekerk in second and third respectively.

Among those lining up against Van Niekerk tonight is Machel Cedenio of Trinidad and Tobago, who is the only man to have beaten South Africa's Olympic champion in an worldwide 400m race in the past two seasons.

Racing in his first global 400m of the season, Van Niekerk is living up to the hype as the next big thing of track and field. "There I want to put on a show and aim for a great time".

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He sprinted to a new South African 200m record in Kingston, Jamaica last month with a time of 19.84 before knocking 0.04 off his 100m time of 9.94 in Velenje 10 days later.

South African Wayde van Niekerk cruised to victory in the Diamond League 400 metres on Thursday in his first global race since he set the world record at last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

American Justin Gatlin warmed up for the world championships with a win in the men's 100m in a time of 9.96 seconds, beating Ivorian Ben Youssef Meite who took second place.

It was Simbine's sixth podium finish on the global circuit this season and the 15th time he dipped below 10 seconds in the 100m.

In the women's javelin throw, Sunette Viljoen was well below her best, settling for sixth place with a 61.38m heave.

Taking the race out hard, Fredericks faded towards the end to take fifth in 49.32, with Van Zyl crossing the line seventh in 50.04.

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