Spikes04 May 2016

Wayde van Niekerk


Did You Know Wayde van Niekerk

Wayde van Niekerk recently became the first athlete in history to run sub-10 for 100m, sub-20 for 200m and sub-44 for 400m. But the one-lap distance is not exactly the South African's best friend.

1. I have a fast younger brother

“My younger brother Craig (18) is also showing a lot of potential and he has run 48.5 for the 400m. He is still at the stage where he is trying to figure out his strengths and what he wants to do, but I have been impressed with his performances.

“He has been sprinting for two years and I hope he stays dedicated, because I would love to compete with him one day. I think he is planning on giving me a headache in future. His running stride shows certain similarities to mine, but he's physically stronger with thicker legs than me.” 

2. I'm sick after nearly every 400m race 

“In training I am always fine, but after most 400m races – and I know this sounds ridiculous – I throw up. I really don't know why it happens. I think this is the reason why I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to the 400m. I know I am talented at the event and that's why I do it, but at the same time I’m not so excited, because I know what the event does to me. I do get very nervous before a 400m race, but that is not because of the guys I'm competing against, but because I know I am likely to vomit after the race.

“I have had some horrible experiences, but I think the worst was in Paris [2015 Diamond League, when he ran 43.96]. Post-race I was asking where the doping control was and before I knew it, I was lying next to some flower pot being sick. I was referred to an ambulance and I was in the parking lot next to the ambulance throwing up. I later threw up two times in the warm-up area.”

3. I like to play poker

“On the European circuit, a group of the South African athletes come together to play poker. It is not too serious, but I enjoy playing for fun. I'm not confident enough to play for money.

“The games can be very long and you need a lot of patience to play poker – it can certainly become a bit of a drag when the guys are holding back because they don't want to put in their chips too early! My form goes a bit up and down depending on the day, but I definitely have no plans to do the sport competitively.”