400m is where I belong - SA's Van Niekerk

South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk made a triumphant return to international athletics on Tuesday, with a win at the Gala dei Castelli meet in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

18 September 2020 | Sports

Nampa/ANA


Wayde van Niekerk worked his way through the field in the last 100m to take victory by a clear margin in Switzerland as he crossed the line in 45.58 seconds. In the South African’s return to international athletics, Dutch runner Jochem Dobber came in second with 45.78 seconds, with Karol Zalewskie of Poland taking third in 46.03.

"The race was challenging," Van Niekerk said. "The guys went out from the beginning and I had to stick with them. The 400m is where I belong and I showed that I’m still around."

It was the first race outside of South Africa for Van Niekerk since the 2017 World Championship in London.

Little training

The 28-year-old had aimed to return to competition last month, but he tested positive for Covid-19 in early August and said he then remained isolated for 25 days.

It's unclear how much training he was able to do in that time, but he hinted it was very little: "Basically I started from scratch".

Van Niekerk made his return to SA competition in a lowkey 100m event on grass in Bloemfontein in February.

Back from injury

For the past two years, performing on an athletics track – an act which used to come as second nature – had been filled with so much doubt.

In Bloemfontein, however, those old race feelings slowly began to return as the warrior rose once more.

"There were definitely a bit of nerves, questions," he told worldathletics.org at the time.

"But I decided to put all those aside and see what my body wants to do."

Later that week, Van Niekerk rocked up to another local meeting in Bloemfontein and, on a synthetic track, clocked 20.31 for 200m and 10.10 for 100m in the space of an hour.

"It showed me I still have that speed and I definitely still have the strength that I had before the injury," he said. "That gave me a massive boost."

Before and after

The 400m world record holder's career will forever be divided into two parts - before and after October 2017.

Injury struck. The one thing that divides his career down the middle. At the time, he was the reigning Olympic and world champion, but his decision to take part in a charity touch rugby match soon brought his career to a standstill.

Van Niekerk sustained medial and lateral tears in his meniscus and tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

As his body grows strong once more, and with his first international victory under his belt - Van Niekerk may have just taken his first step towards defending his 2016 Rio Olympic 400m title.

Similar News

 

What a time to be alive – Shalulile

1 hour ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIWINDHOEKThe year 2020 has been exceptional for Namibian international Peter Shalulile as he not only jointly won the PSL Golden Boot with 16 goals,...

Haufiku denies shambles at board

1 hour ago | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA WINDHOEKNamibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) chairperson Bernard Haufiku has played down allegations that the board is disorganised and in...

Windhoek Gymnasium Private School and Windhoek High School Annual...

1 day - 20 October 2020 | Sports

Weekend highlights of the Windhoek Gymnasium Private school and Windhoek High School annual inter-high that took place over the weekend, the event was filled with...

Shami lauded for yorker masterclass

1 day - 20 October 2020 | Sports

NAMPA/AFPPace bowler Mohammed Shami was hailed on Monday as the hero of bottom-of-the-table Kings XI Punjab's sensational super over win over Indian Premier League champions...

Champions League offers fresh start for Barca

1 day - 20 October 2020 | Sports

NAMPA/AFPGerard Pique called for changes from top to bottom but 65 days have passed since the humiliation by Bayern Munich and Barcelona's recovery looks far...

Guardiola challenges Aguero

1 day - 20 October 2020 | Sports

NAMPA/AFPPep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero must earn a new contract at Manchester City even though he is the club's all-time record goalscorer.Aguero, who returned from...

Ring awaits Indongo, Lukas and Ambunda

1 day - 20 October 2020 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIWINDHOEKBoxing is making a return to the scene after being halted for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.With this return, three celebrated Namibian...

Maize Triangle to conclude in November

2 days ago - 19 October 2020 | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISAWINDHOEKThe Maize Triangle Soccer League (MTS) league will be concluded towards the beginning of November, league member Jefta Gaoab says.The league, which host...

Brave Warriors out of quarantine

2 days ago - 19 October 2020 | Sports

SPORT REPORTERBrave Warriors players who were in quarantine after their recent trip from South Africa are now out of quarantine.In a statement issued by the...

Supporting the development of cycling in Namibia

5 days ago - 16 October 2020 | Sports

On 14 October, FNB Namibia’s commercial division handed over a sponsorship of N$12 000 towards the Etameko Cycling Club and its monthly cycling events for...

Latest News

Covid kicks Shiimi in the...

1 hour ago | Ministries

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKThe Covid-19 pandemic has sucked government coffers dry and hit state revenue streams by nearly N$5 billion, thus exerting pressure...

Seven apprehended for wildlife crimes

1 hour ago | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Seven suspects were arrested for wildlife-related crimes in five separate cases recently, of which three are new cases registered...

Unemployment drives youth into electoral...

1 hour ago | Opinion

Yesterday, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) announced that a whopping 93 independent candidates have been registered to contest in the upcoming regional council elections.In...

APP takes aim at NamWater,...

1 hour ago | Politics

Kenya KamboweRUNDU The All People's Party (APP) says NamWater and the country's various regional energy distributors (REDs) are making a fortune off local authorities,...

Teacher makes extra income from...

1 hour ago | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKFarming activities can become an extra income for many Namibians.A science teacher at the Oshilungi Combined School, Anneli Mutumbulwa, chose not to depend on...

Agriculture still feeling the pinch

1 hour ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKMeasures put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus caused disruptions in food chains in Namibia, which in turn posed a threat...

Don't judge on the basis...

1 hour ago | Opinion

TONI HANCOXThe Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) objects to any characterisation of Namibian voters by race or ethnicity. Not all white voters have the same opinions,...

Use of 'war' in electoral...

1 hour ago | Opinion

SOPHIA SHANINGWAOn 17 October 2020, the president of the Swapo Party, Comrade Hage G Geingob successfully launched our campaign for the November 2020 regional and...

What a time to be...

1 hour ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIWINDHOEKThe year 2020 has been exceptional for Namibian international Peter Shalulile as he not only jointly won the PSL Golden Boot with 16 goals,...

Load More