Wayde van Niekerk (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula has congratulated sprinter Wayde van Niekerk after his historical achievement at the Rio Olympic Games on Sunday.
Van Niekerk smashed American Michael Johnson's 17-year old world record by 0.15 seconds, winning the 400m gold medal in a time of 43.03.
"This is a very special moment in the history of our track and field athletics and remains a proud moment for our South African team,” Mbalula commented via a press statement on Monday.
“Wayde's performance has put South Africa on the global map by not just bringing us gold but also breaking and setting an extraordinary record finish. I have been privileged to watch him and other South African athletes in action at the Olympics having visited their Olympic Athletes' Village to interact and send messages of support from South Africa."
According to Mbalula, Van Niekerk has exceeded expectations at the Olympics.
"His performance has been sensational and we are proud of our first gold medal and I am confident this has unleashed a string of more medals to come. Let me also congratulate Akani Simbine for holding his own by finishing fifth in the men’s 100m sprint behind Usain Bolt. We are very proud of our youngsters and convinced with time and hard work, the world will soon be eating from the palms of his hands," Mbalula concluded.