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5 things to know about Wayde van Niekerk

2016-08-15 06:10
Wayde van Niekerk (Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro - Five facts about Wayde van Niekerk, who broke the men's 400m world record at the Olympic Games with a time of 43.03 in Rio on Sunday:

One family, two medals

Van Niekerk is not the only member of his family to win a medal in Rio. His cousin is Cheslin Kolbe, who won bronze with the South African sevens rugby team last week. Van Niekerk had a large number of his family at the stadium on Monday to witness his record-breaking run.

From Cape Town to Rio, via Beijing

The Cape Town-born star arrived in Rio with form. His winning time at the Beijing world championships last year was 43.48. In his slipstream that day taking bronze was the London 2012 champion Kirani James and in silver LaShawn Merritt. That pair filled the minor places again here, only in different order. In China he became South Africa's first world sprint champion.

Coached by a grandmother, and in Jamaica

In his quest for Olympic glory, the 24-year-old linked up with Usain Bolt's coach Glen Mills in Jamaica in the run-up to Rio. "We have some good relationship with coach Mills, I've got to know him on the circuit over the last few months and years," Van Niekerk said in June. His coach back home is a 74-year-old white-haired grandmother, Ans Botha. The unlikely combination teamed up three years ago, the move paying dramatic dividends.

Sprint history-maker

Van Niekerk created athletics history in March when he became the first to break 10 seconds for 100m, 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m. Having already clocked 19.94 and 43.48 in the 200m and 400m, Van Niekerk timed 9.98 in the 100m in Bloemfontein.

Marketing man

Born and raised in Cape Town, Van Niekerk from a young age showed his aptitude for sport. But after attending a local college he continued his education, studying marketing at University of the Free State.

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