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Family first for Wayde van Niekerk

2016-08-11 09:01

Rio de Janeiro - South African sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk will be joined by several family members when he launches his Olympic Games campaign on Friday. 

Van Niekerk, the current world champion in the 400m, is being heavily tipped to win South Africa a gold medal in the final this weekend. 

If he does, he will give an entire nation reason for celebration, but he will also have 10 very special South African spectators in attendance at the Olympic Stadium.

"I made sure that I sorted eight of my family members out but I heard that there’s 10 coming now," said Van Niekerk.

"They made sure that they joined the trip. It’s amazing having my family here.

"If I had to think about it, a few years ago or even just last year we couldn’t afford something like that and now I have 10 family members that are joining me. It’s just amazing that they can join this journey with me."

Van Niekerk says that, win or lose, he will go straight to his family members after his race. 

And there may be a special moment reserved for 'mom'.

"Even if I was a football player or a rugby player she would be proud and happy for me; I’ve got a very supportive mother," said the 24-year-old.

"I’m grateful for every sacrifice that she’s made for me and this is just another opportunity to make her and my family proud."

The final of the 400m takes place on Sunday.

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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