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

WAYDE van Niekerk cruised to victory in his first serious 400m race in Lausanne on Thursday night as he grabbed his second world lead.

The Olympic champion even slowed before crossing the line‚ but he still stopped the clock on 43.62sec‚ a record for this Diamond League meet and a time faster than any active athlete in the world.

Only four other men in history have been quicker‚ including American Michael Johnson‚ who had held the previous 43.66 meet record.

And Van Niekerk looked like he was taking it easy. He started slow by comparison‚ and he wasn’t even in the lead when he entered the home straight‚ trailing Isaac Makwala of Botswana.

But he put his foot down to storm into the lead before easing up before the finish.

Few people are likely to bet against Van Niekerk‚ who also has the 200m world lead‚ when he doubles in the 200m and 400m at the world championships in London next month.

Early‚ Justin Gatlin outpowered Akani Simbine for the second time in two days as he won the 100m race with a late burst.

Simbine had a good start‚ but he seemed unusually flat over the final 40 metres as Gatlin and Ivorian Ben Youssef Meite swept past him.

At least the South African‚ a finalist at the Rio Olympics‚ had the consolation of breaking 10 seconds for his third place‚ clocking 9.99.

Gatlin won in 9.96sec with Meite two-hundredths of a second further back.

Henricho Bruintjies was sixth in 10.15.

Olympic silver medallist Sunette Viljoen ended a disappointing sixth with a best throw of 61.38m‚ well behind the front three.

Olympic champion Sara Kolak of Crotia clinched the competition from evergreen Czech Barbora Spotakova on her final attempt‚ unleashing a world lead and national record 68.43.

Spotakova‚ third at the Rio Games‚ had led from the first round with 67.40. Australian Kathryn Mitchell was third with a 66.12 personal best.

Viljoen‚ in her first Diamond League of the season‚ recorded no no-throws‚ but three of her efforts failed to clear 60m.

Cornel Fredericks led the 400m hurdles going into the home straight‚ but he tired badly on the final stretch to end fifth in 49.32‚ with compatriot LJ van Zyl seventh in 50.04.

Swiss star Kariem Hussein won in 48.79‚ with two others breaking 49 seconds behind him. - TimesLIVE

- TMG Digital

Please sign in or register to comment.