World record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk’s hopes of reaching the summit of world athletics once again were dashed on Thursday night as he finished last in the Men’s 400m final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The Olympic record holder ran from the inside lane clocked a dismal time of 45.11, more than two seconds outside his world record of 43.03, while Jamaican athlete Antonio Watson stormed to gold in 44.22.
More Jamaican glory 👀
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) August 24, 2023
Van Niekerk had a strong season, reclaiming the number one world ranking with a season’s best of 44.08 seconds, the fastest among the eight finalists. However, his journey to the final was tight; he narrowly missed an automatic qualifying spot with a third-place finish in the semi-final at 44.65 seconds.
The result was a huge blow for Team South Africa after Akani Simbine’s disqualification for a false start in the 100m semifinals earlier in the competition. Simbine and Van Niekerk were South Africa’s biggest medal hopes heading into the championships. However, with just two days left of the championships, South Africa’s medal chances are looking very bleak.
On Friday, javelin throwers Jo-Ane van Dyl and Douw Smit, 800m athlete Prudence Sekgodiso, and the men’s 400m relay team will carry the country’s hopes.
Van Dyl is in action at 8:20pm, while Sekgodiso takes to the track at 8:25pm. The relay team is on at 7:30pm.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari