South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk stunned the Olympic Stadium on Monday as he smashed the 400m world record. The 24-year-old Cape Town runner lit up the Maracana stadium with an incredible run from lane eight with a time of 43.03 – breaking US star Michael Johnson’s 19-year record.
Unstoppable: South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk wrote his name into the record books tonight as he smashed the 400m world record
The 24-year-old Cape Town runner gave a blistering performance from lane eight with a time of 43.03 – breaking US star Michael Johnson’s 19-year record.
Bond: But none of it would have been possible without the support of his coach, great-grandmother Ans Botha, 74 (pictured
But none of it would have been possible without the support of his coach, great-grandmother Ans Botha, who began coaching athletes in the 1960s and she is well respected.
Bond: The unique partnership between the van Niekerk, 24, and Ans Botha – exactly half a century his senior – has delivered extraordinary career highlights for both athlete and trainer
Nurturing: Known affectionately as ‘Tannie Ans’ to her athletes – Tannie meaning Auntie in her first language Afrikaans – has given van Niekerk ‘a positive environment to train in.’
Mrs Botha’s positive impact on Van Niekerk’s performance since they began working together three years ago has been dramatic
Van Niekerk, who was the flag bearer for South Africa at the Games’ opening ceremony, has flown ten members of his family to Rio to watch him compete, including his girlfriend Chesney Campbell, 24, his grandparents and parents, Odessa and Wayne
South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk cruised easily into the final at the Olympic Statdium and was quick to pay tribute to the white-haired coach who helped him get there
Rather than being star-struck by super stars such as Usain Bolt, she said she learned from them – and even stole some coaching ideas.
Mrs Botha’s (far right) trip to China was her first time at an IAAF World Championship