Cape Town - Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk flaunted his superb form on Tuesday night, taking the first step in his attempt at a historic double at the IAAF World Championships in London.
The defending 400m champion won comfortably in the one-lap final, winding down on the home straight ahead of his 200m semi-final on Wednesday (21:55 SA time).
Van Niekerk completed the race in 43.98, covering the distance 0.43 ahead of Bahamas sprinter Steven Gardiner.
Athletics South Africa President Aleck Skhosana offered congratulations to Van Niekerk on winning gold and sent well wishes as he attempts the double.
"Congratulations to Wayde Van Niekerk for retaining the title he won at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing," said Skhosana.
"He will put behind his achievement and focus on the forthcoming 200m semi-finals and final in order to achieve his ambition of doubling in the 400m and 200m.
"We thank the coach and the entire team that supported him throughout the rounds and preparing him to stay focussed in order to win a gold medal for SA."
After six days of competition, Team SA team had secured four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze) and moved to third position on the medals table.