Wayde van Niekerk. Picture: REUTERS
Wayde van Niekerk. Picture: REUTERS

South African athletics star Wayde van Niekerk has returned home after a successful one-month rehabilitation programme in Qatar for a knee ligament tear sustained last October.

"The services I received [in Qatar] were world class and I am feeling very positive about my recovery," Van Niekerk said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The Olympic and world 400m champion was injured while playing in a touch rugby match in Cape Town, one of several charity-match curtain-raisers to a SA-New Zealand Test. Van Niekerk underwent surgery in the US soon after and the visit to Qatar was planned then as part of his rehabilitation schedule.

No definite track comeback date has been set by the 25-year-old, but he will miss the Commonwealth Games on the Australian Gold Coast during April.

Van Niekerk said the 2019 Athletics World Championships in Qatar would be a "great starting point" for him. "I think Doha would be a great starting point for me to get back and gain my confidence as an athlete and continue to dominate in every event I do."

Van Niekerk is the only athlete to run the 100m in less than 10 seconds, the 200m in less than 20, and the 400m in less 44. He is also the world record holder in the 400m and the rarely run 300m.

AFP