Track and field sprinter W. Van Niekerk, born on July 15, 1992 in South Africa, specialises in the 200 and 400 metre events. W. Van Niekerk recently broke the Olympic and world record in the 400-meter event at the Olympic finals. In the 300-meter event, he also has the best time ever.
W. Van Niekerk has won two silver medals in the 400-meter event at international competitions: at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2013 Summer Universiade.
In addition to competing for South Africa at the 2013 and 2015 Athletics World Championships, he has also won a gold medal.
The 400-meter event at the 2015 World Championships was the one in which he triumphed, earning him the gold medal. W. Van Niekerk ponders the mental anguish he endured during the disastrous Tokyo 2020 Games.
The South African athlete who holds the world record in the 400-meter dash says, “I know that my mind was not concentrated, and that may put you back.”
W. Van Niekerk Reflects on Mental Struggles During Disappointing Tokyo 2020 Games
After a difficult road back to health marred by a series of ailments, the South African was competing in his first major event.
W. Van Niekerk had been expected to defend the gold he won in Rio 2016 by setting a new world record in the men’s 400-meter dash, however he fell in the semi-finals and was eliminated.
“I had a difficulty with my back and I know now my mind was not centred and that can put you back,” W. Van Niekerk explained to South African news outlet News24 as a possible explanation for his failure in Tokyo.
Reigning Olympic Champion W. Van Niekerk Fails to Reach 400m Final
The South African who won gold at Rio 2016 and set a new world record fell to fifth place, behind the champion from the United States, Steven Gardiner.
W. Van Niekerk, who won the 400-meter event at Rio 2016, didn’t even make it to the finals at Monday’s Olympic Games in Tokyo (2 August).
Five years after winning in a then-world-record 43.03 seconds, the South African has dealt with a series of injuries since injuring his anterior cruciate knee ligament in October 2017. The 29-year-old has been having trouble getting into shape and has relocated to Florida.
In the third semi-final of the 400 metres, W. Van Niekerk was in the lead going into the last turn, but he eventually dropped to fourth place. Behind the world champion, Bahamas’s Steven Gardiner, and the United States’ Michael Norman.
W. Van Niekerk, the reigning Olympic and world 400-meter champion, was disqualified from the Tokyo Games. Unfortunately for W. Van Niekerk, only the top two finishers in each semi-final advance automatically to the final.