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
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
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.
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.