400m Olympic champion and world record-holder Wayde van Niekerk showed he is no slouch when it comes to the 200m after beating his friend Akani Simbine with a blistering run in Johannesburg.
CAPE TOWN – Wayde van Niekerk pulled out a few fist-pumps after beating his good friend Akani Simbine with a blistering run in a 200m race in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Running in the Athletics South Africa invitational meeting at the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium in Johannesburg, Van Niekerk posted a superb time of 20.10 seconds – it would have been the second-fastest in the world this year, and also significantly quicker than the Olympic qualifying time of 20.24, but a strong wind of +2.1m/s means that it cannot count towards the official world list.
It would have been the second fastest time in the world this year, behind the 19.81 set by American Terrance Laird last Saturday in Austin, Texas, but the wind reading of +2.1m/s means that it cannot count towards the list.
Simbine wasn’t far behind, and finished second in 20.29, with Tsebo Matsoso third in 20.48. Former world bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana ended in seventh position with 20.74, behind Botswana 400m star Isaac Makwala (20.59).
It was 100m specialist Simbine who was quickest out of the blocks. Having run 9.99 seconds in that distance last week, it was no surprise to see the Commonwealth Games champion taking an early lead at the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium.
But despite light rain having started to fall just before the race, Van Niekerk turned on the pace following the bend, and eventually sped past Simbine, who was unable to maintain his speed all the way to the finish line.
Van Niekerk will be delighted with his improvement from last week’s 20.64 in Potchefstroom, while Simbine will use this race as part of his endurance for the 100m.
It is unclear if Van Niekerk will take part in the South African national championships next month, as he is awaiting clearance documents to allow him to fly to the United States, where he will join the training group of 200m world champion Noah Lyles in preparation for the international season and the Tokyo Olympics.