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SA’s Wayde van Niekerk blisters to new 300m sprint world record in Czech

By Marc Jacobson - Jun 29, 2017
SA’s Wayde van Niekerk blisters to new 300m sprint world record in Czech

South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk has astonishingly taken the track reigns after Usain Bolt’s soon-due retirement, as he romped to the rarely-raced 300m world record with a time of 30.81s in the Golden Spike meet at the Mestsky Stadium in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Wednesday night.

Van Niekerk beat Bolt’s very own seven-year standing meet record of 30.97, and beat the previous world record of 30.85, set by American Michael Johnson at altitude in Pretoria in 2000.

This became the second time that van Niekerk pre-empted Johnson in the space of a year, after the South African broke the 400m world record at the Rio Olympics last year, with a time of 43.03 seconds, beating Johnson’s previous 43.18s.

“I'm so pleased and grateful for this big achievement. Thanks to all the people of Ostrava for this wonderful meeting. I'm honoured to be a small part of history," van Niekerk expressed after the race.

"I have to rest a little but after that I hope I can continue to make babysteps to be better day by day," he added.

The world renowned track sprinter Bolt, who has claimed 11 gold medal sprints with repeated world record breaks, is confident that van Niekerk will fill the new void he will leave behind after retiring, with some good lauds for the South African.

“I think he really wants to be a sprinter because he's set a personal best in the 100m this year,” Bolt said. 

“He's shown he's ready for the challenge. He's really down to earth, he's really humble and he's a great person.”

“He listens and wants to be good and if he continues like this he'll take over track and field.”

Fellow South African, Clarence Munyai, claimed third-place in the very same 300m sprint with a time of 31.61s. Botswana’s Isaac Makwala came second with a time of 31.44s.

Image: Wayde van Niekerk posing next to his clocked record-finishing 300m time after the race.