Cape Town - Wayde van Niekerk's coach, Ans Botha, says he is on track for a return to competitive action in 2019.
The 26-year-old, who broke the 400m world record at the 2016 Rio Olympics in stunning fashion, has been sidelined since he sustained a freak knee injury during a game of celebrity touch rugby at Newlands all the way back in October, 2017.
The injury has threatened Van Niekerk's career and doubts remain over whether he will be able to reach the pace he had before the injury.
But, speaking to Netwerk24, 'Tannie Ans' was optimistic that a return to action was not far away with the IAAF World Championships in September next year a clear goal.
"It is a situation that we need to manage with extreme care," the 76-year-old Botha said.
"I don't want to make any predictions, but at this stage we are positive that he will be able to get his first few races when the European season begins (in their summer)."
Botha confirmed that Van Niekerk did still feel some discomfort in his knee at times, but that the initial pain that accompanied the injury had disappeared.
Van Niekerk visited a specialist in Doha last month, with Botha adding that the feedback was encouraging.
The recovery will continue throughout the festive season.
"Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to have a break because we cannot afford to lose time," Botha added.