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Class act Van Niekerk easily wins 400m final

GLORY: Wayde Van Niekerk

WAYDE VAN Nierkerk stormed to 400m victory as the fifth day of the World Athletics Championships concluded on August 8.

The South African was in total control of the race from the gun and easily took the gold medal to add to his plethora of honours, he is the current world record holder, world champion and Olympic champion in the 400m, and also holds the world best time in the 300 metres.

Bahamian Steven Gardiner took Silver and Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar the Bronze.

The one-lap sprint was tainted by the absence of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala who had to withdraw after an outbreak of the norovirus bug. However, the African insisted that he was fit to race.

The 30 year-old, who was also pulled out of the 200m heats on Monday, was withdrawn by organisers the IAAF "due to a medical condition".

Cape Town-born Van Niekerk – touted to be the next major star of the track in the absence of legendary Jamaican Usain Bolt – now has his eyes on a double with the 200m his next target.

Van Niekerk told the media immediately after his success:

"It is amazing to win the world title. It is a blessing. I hope the fans enjoyed that.

“I'm used to the lactic (acid in legs) but I need a few minutes to recover from that effort and I'll be fine. I've got a good team who will help me recover well for the 200m and I'm looking forward to that."

Haroun said:

"The first thing I wanted to do was reach the final but I've had to fight for a medal. I knew it was a big chance for me so, I am very happy to have taken the opportunity.

On being first Asian medallist in the 400m he admitted:

"It is a very special moment for my country and an honour to take the bronze medal with me."

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