By: Natasha Archary
Wayde van Niekerk set his sight on a second gold medal which he hoped to win for South Africa. However, the 400m record holder has lost his chance at defending his title after finishing 5th in the semi-finals which took place today.
Coming in at 45.14 seconds, Wayde lost to front-runner Steven Gardiner from the Bahamas.
Wayde’s preparation in the build-up to the Olympics was tough due to injuries which meant he had to sit out a lot of events. He finished the 4th heat at the Tokyo Olympics by coming in third with a time of 45.25
The gold medalist currently holds the fastest record for the men’s 400m sprint at 43.03 for his incredible finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Olympic legend said he wanted to be a shining light for his country at a time when there’s so much disappointment, pain and stress. He is fighting through his own setbacks and injuries to a positive inspiration, hoping to win another gold to give South Africans something to celebrate.
“My country is going through so much right now … there’s so much stress, disappointment, pain. I’m trying to be a shining light, fighting through my own setbacks and injuries and being a positive for my country.” – Wayde van Niekerk https://t.co/h6p2afmjId#TeamSA #Tokyo2020
— Team South Africa (@TeamSA2020) August 1, 2021
“It was a great race for me. I was a little bit nervous before the race. I had a good 200m and shut down a bit too soon. I am slowly regaining my confidence. I am in the semifinals, and that is what matters at the moment,” Wayde shared in a post-race interview in qualifying for the semi-finals.