South African athlete creates sprint history

Van Niekerk

Van Niekerk

Team Nigeria departs for IAAF Indoor in Portland, USA
South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk has become the first athlete to run under 10 seconds for the 100m, 20 seconds for the 200m and 44 seconds for 400m.

Van Niekerk ran 100m in 9.98 seconds in Bloemfontein on Saturday to add to his 19.94 personal best over 200m and 400m world title-winning 43.48.

The 23-year-old was helped by a legal 1.5m/sec tailwind and 1,300m altitude.“Wow! Finally reaching my dream of sub 10,” Van Niekerk wrote on Instagram alongside a video of the race.

Former world and Olympic 200m and 400m champion Michael Johnson wrote on Twitter: “Sub 10, sub 20, sub 44. That’s crazy. Great things could be ahead for Dwayne.”Van Niekerk will only run the 400m at the Olympics in Rio this summer.

Meanwhile, the first batch of Team Nigeria contingent for the IAAF World Indoor championship in Portland, USA, left Lagos yesterday.

The championship holding at Oregon Convention Center from March 17-20 will see the size of combined events fields increased for the first time since 1997, with pentathlon and heptathlon having 12 athletes in each competition.

The invites for the combined events in Portland were based on the 2015 IAAF Combined Events Challenge, on last year’s outdoor world season lists, on this year’s indoor world season lists, plus one wild card.

Team Nigeria will feature in the men’s 4x400m alongside countries their counterparts from Bahamas, Belgium, Guyana, Jamaica, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.

Nigeria women’s 4×400 team will do battle against the Jamaicans, Poland,
Ukraine and the
United States.President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba told The Guardian yesterday before he jetted out to the United States that though one of the nation’s female athletes, Patience Okon George was still battling to get visa, Team Nigeria would present a formidable squad in Portland.

“I don’t know why the US embassy has not given her visa. I hope she gets it and join the second batch for the trip,” Ogba said.
Nigerian male athletes for the trip include sprinters Ogho-Oghene Egwero, Obinna Metu and Noah Akwa.

Several new innovations will be incorporated into the competition at the Oregon. One of the biggest changes will be in the shot put, long jump and triple jump. After five rounds, just the top four athletes will have a sixth attempt.

With more than 600 of the world’s greatest track and field athletes from more than 150 countries in action, the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 promises to be an incredible sporting spectacle.

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