The 29-year-old world record holder and reigning champion, Wayde van Niekerk, advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m heats at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, August 1.
Van Niekerk, who claimed a world record victory of 43.03 seconds in the men’s 400m at the Rio 2016 Games, finished third in his heat in 45.25 seconds.
Athletics, men’s 400m, heats: Wayde van Niekerk finished 3rd in his heat in 45.25 and qualified 12th for the semi-finals
Zakithi Nene and Thapelo Phora both finished 5th in their heats in 45.74 and 45.83, for 28th and 29th overall, missing out on the semis#TeamSA #Tokyo2020
— Team South Africa (@TeamSA2020) August 1, 2021
Unfortunately, his South African teammates, Zakithi Nene and Thapelo Phora failed to qualify for the semi-finals after clocking in 45.74 and 45.83 seconds respectively and both finished fifth in their heat as Sport24 reports.
According to Team SA, this is what Van Niekerk had to say about the race itself: “It’s been a been a tough few years for the entire world. My own country is going through so much right now … there’s so much stress, disappointments, pain. I’m trying to be a shining light, fighting through my own setbacks and injuries and being a positive for my country.”
Van Niekerk will be back in action to tackle the semi-finals on Monday from 13:05 SA time.
Picture: Anton Geyser / Team SA