The last 20 days have been productive for Wayde van Niekerk’s consolidation as a very powerful multiple-event sprinter.

Last night’s Golden Spike meeting, in Ostrava can be seen as a miniature representation of the “exchange of baton” which is occurring in the athletics sprints, with the South African shifting the limelight from Usain Bolt (who ran a modest 10.06 in the 100 metres) to  his world best in the 300 metres.

The previous weeks we had seen him dipping even more bellow the 10- and 20-seconds barriers and those marks were building momentum to his likely attempt at the 200/400m double later this summer.

Now, breaking the 300-metres world best performance is just the frost on the cake and erases the name of … Michael Johnson… who was precisely the only man to achieve the 200/400m double at an Olympic Games (and also in 1995 world championships).
Should this mean something? I do think it is a convincing argument, although Johnson wasn’t running against a Jamaican who’s already ran the 200 metres under 19.20.

The London 2017 World Championships are five weeks away, and when the moment comes van Niekerk will have six races in six days. That includes running the 200m semi-final and final after having completed the 400m competition.
Even though he is expected to qualify from the heats with relative ease, 400 metres is a though race – even for Wayde’s legs – and that might make things a bit more difficult for the faster sprint in the immediately following days.

Until then, we still have the chance of seeing him in action in the Lausanne and Monaco meetings of the Diamond League.

(Photo: AP)

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