Wayde Van Niekerk clocks 19.84 in blistering 200m final
Sprinter breaks SA record as he prepares to take world champs by storm
Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk reclaimed the 200m world lead as he broke the South African record at Usain Bolt’s farewell meet in Jamaica on Saturday night.
He clocked 19.84 sec to shave 0.03 off the mark Anaso Jobodwana had set when he won bronze at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.
Jobodwana, still trying to find his form after a lengthy injury, took second place in Hengelo, Holland, in 20.62 last night.
South Africa’s star there was long-jumper Luvo Manyonga, who continued his stunning form as he sailed to an 8.60m opening leap before finishing with 8.62, his career best jump at sea level. Between those two efforts he had two no-jumps and managed 8.40 and 8.46.
Anyone could have won on the day, with countryman Ruswahl Samaai second on 8.34. Zarck Visser was unable to clear 8m.
Antonio Alkana came back strongly to win the 110m hurdles in 13.47 and Carina Horn was third in the women’s 100m behind home favourite Dafne Schippers.
Van Niekerk‚ who is aiming to do the 200m and 400m double at the world championships in London in August‚ had seen his world’s best time of 19.90 from April get eclipsed late last month by US student Christian Coleman‚ who went 19.85.
Now the South African superstar is back on top.
His countryman, Akani Simbine, failed to recover from a slow start and had to settle for second place behind Bolt’s countryman‚ Yohan Blake‚ in their 100m race.
Blake won in 9.97 and Simbine‚ who has lost two races in a row‚ clocked 10.00.
Both were faster than Bolt‚ who won the feature event of the Racers Grand Prix in 10.03‚ although they enjoyed a slightly stronger tail wind of 0.6m per second compared with 0.2.
Bolt will not run the 200m at the world championships‚ after which he retires. An emotional Bolt recovered from a moderate start to win his final 100m on home soil.
The multiple Olympic and world gold medallist confessed to being a nervous wreck before running his last race on Jamaican soil.
“The run, it was just OK. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous running a 100m,” Bolt said after a lap of honour before a packed stadium, including Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
— Reuters and David Isaacson