South African Track and Field Sprinter
Wayde van Niekerk made his international debut at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics. His senior breakthrough came at the age of 18 at the 2011 South African Athletics Championships, where he won the 200-meter race. The 2013 season marked Van Niekerk’s emergence as a 400-meter runner. He won the second national title of his career in the 400-meter race at the 2013 South African Championships.
Van Niekerk won the gold medal in the 400 meters at the 2016 Summer Olympics with a world record time of 43.03 seconds, breaking Michael Johnson’s long-standing record from 1999. Van Niekerk became the only man to have won the Olympic- or world 400 meters from lane eight. Usually, runners in this lane are at a disadvantage due to the staggered start.