Wayde van Niekerk. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Wayde van Niekerk. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Olympic and world 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk has vowed to come back stronger from the injury that has ruled him out of the Commonwealth Games at Australia’s Gold Coast in April.

Van Niekerk — the first man in history to go sub-10sec in 100m‚ sub-20 in 200m‚ sub-31 in 300m and sub-44 in 400m — injured his knee in 2017 while taking part in a celebrity touch-rugby match at Newlands.

"Rehabilitation is going very well. We are in the positive stage now and I am looking forward to the process of working towards the upcoming season‚" he said.

"I am working very hard to try and master this rehabilitation phase that I am going through now so that I get back to business. I will come back stronger than before.

"We have quality in track and field in the country at the moment and it is also good to see world-class athletes from other countries coming to SA to test our facilities and our athletes. It can only be good for us."

Van Niekerk attended the second leg of the Athletix Grand Prix at Tuks Stadium last week and watched Caster Semenya break the long-standing 1,000m record‚ Anaso Jobodwana beat world champion Justin Gatlin to win the rarely run 150m and Akani Simbine win the 100m.

"I am here in Pretoria to find some inspiration from the guys who are performing in this Grand Prix‚" he said.

"It is exciting to see that we can pull off such a big and exciting event in SA."

Van Niekerk could not say when he expects to return to the track but promised he would be refreshed after this long lay-off.

"I have to rebuild‚ refresh myself and just use this year to come back stronger.

"I am enjoying my time off but when I come back to the track, it will be back to serious business in trying to continue my dominance.

"I am going back to the old Wayde and I will be competing in the 100m‚ 200m‚ 300m and 400m‚" he said‚ dismissing talk that his relationship with sprinting rival Isaac Makwala of Botswana was strained.

"We have a great relationship. "We will continue to push each other to new heights and I am looking forward to getting back to the track and competing with him."