Other sport 7.9.2016 02:17 pm

Van Niekerk delighted to be home

Olympic 400 metre champion and new world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk returned home to South Africa today at OR Tambo International Airport, 7 September 2016. He was greeted by hundreds of fans. His sponsor Audi also surprised him with a new Audi R8, which was also at the airport waiting for him. Picture: Neil McCartney

Olympic 400 metre champion and new world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk returned home to South Africa today at OR Tambo International Airport, 7 September 2016. He was greeted by hundreds of fans. His sponsor Audi also surprised him with a new Audi R8, which was also at the airport waiting for him. Picture: Neil McCartney

Stepping on SA soil for the first time since his stunning Olympic victory, Wayde van Niekerk said on Wednesday he was pleased to be home.

Van Niekerk, who set a world record of 43.03 seconds to win gold at the Rio Games last month, arrived in Joburg with fellow sprinter Akani Simbine after the duo had spent a short period in Europe due to sponsorship commitments.

The Olympic champion was set to conclude a few other commitments in Gauteng before embarking on the final leg of his trip home to Bloemfontein.

“I’m looking forward to South African food, and spending time with my friends and family,” Van Niekerk said. “I miss that love and family warmth, so I can’t wait to get home and just spend some time with them.”

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While some of his compatriots were set to compete at the final Diamond League meeting of the season in Brussels on Friday, Van Niekerk confirmed he would put his feet up for a well-earned rest before starting his buildup to the 2017 campaign.

“I’ll take a break for a bit and then focus on the new year,” he said. “I still have to sit down with my coach (Ans Botha) and discuss what’s next.” Van Niekerk and Simbine, who was fifth in the Olympic men’s 100m final, were greeted by hundreds of fans at OR Tambo International.

Olympic 400 metre champion and new world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk returned home to South Africa today at OR Tambo International Airport, 7 September 2016. He was greeted by hundreds of fans. His sponsor Audi also surprised him with a new Audi R8, which was also at the airport waiting for him. Picture: Neil McCartney

Olympic 400 metre champion and new world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk returned home to South Africa today at OR Tambo International Airport, 7 September 2016. He was greeted by hundreds of fans. His sponsor Audi also surprised him with a new Audi R8, which was also at the airport waiting for him. Picture: Neil McCartney

On his arrival, Van Niekerk was handed the keys to a new sports car, receiving an Audi R8 as part of one of his latest sponsorship deals after establishing his place among the fastest men in history.

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