Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
3 Oct 2017
6:39 pm

Wayde van Niekerk will go full-on Bolt in 2018

Wesley Botton

South Africa's sprinting kingpin cuts 400m to focus on short sprints - the forte of Jamaican legend Usian Bolt.

Wayde van Niekerk's plans for next year is no laughing matter for his competitors. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images.

World record holder Wayde van Niekerk has confirmed he will skip the 400m event at next year’s Commonwealth Games, in order to focus on the 100m and 200m double in Gold Coast.

Shortly after securing 400m gold and 200m silver at the World Championships in August, he had revealed he would consider dropping the longer event for the Commonwealth showpiece, though he had said at the time he had not yet made a firm decision.

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“I’ll definitely be doing the 100m and 200m,” Van Niekerk said on Tuesday, at the launch of a T-Systems documentary on his life, to be aired in February.

While the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) had not yet revealed what Commonwealth ranking would be required to qualify for the SA team, Van Niekerk was likely to book his place in both short sprints.

Having cemented his place as the top 400m athlete in the world, his explosive start also made him a global force over the shorter distances.

This year he was ranked second in the world in the 200m event, after setting a national record of 19.84, and he became only the second South African after national record holder Akani Simbine to dip under 10 seconds over 100m twice in his career.

“I think I’ve put out some great performances, and we’ll have to look at the selection criteria and what they need from me, but we’ll try and do the job,” Van Niekerk said.

“If I’m selected, I’ll compete in those events.”

Van Niekerk’s agent, Peet van Zyl, also confirmed he would make himself available if South Africa qualified a national team for the 4x100m relay.