SA’s 4×400 men qualify for the Games


Wayde van Niekerk and his star-studded South African 4x400m team booked their ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris when they finished second in their heat at the World Relays in Nassau in the Bahamas on Sunday (early Monday morning SA time). Bahamas.

Botswana won gold in a time of 2:59.11 – also the fastest time yet this year.

South Africa’s Lythe Pillay stormed through from fifth place to give South Africa a silver medal and a time of 3:00.75. Botswana and South Africa were followed by Belgium, Japan and Italy.

Gardeo Isaacs, Zakithi Nene, Matt Nortjé and the lightning-fast Pillay were an excellent combination and the team won South Africa’s first relay medal since Yokohama in 2019, when the 4×400 m men brought home silver.

It was also Van Niekerk’s first international medal since the 2017 World Championships in London where he won gold in the 400 m and silver in the 200 m. He injured his right knee in touch rugby soon after.

Van Niekerk, who will turn 32 shortly before the Paris Games, has been fighting for the last time to get back to the same place he was when he set the world record of 43.03 in Rio 2016.

He was fifth at the World Championship in Eugene in 2022 and seventh at last year’s event in Budapest. Last year he also ran his fastest 400m time (44.08) since the injury.