Wade is back: Van Niekerk advances to 400m semi-finals

Nearly five years after injuring his knee in a rugby match, Wayde van Niekerk returned to form Sunday night with a landslide victory at the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene.

Although Van Niekerk’s time of 45.18 seconds was well beyond his best, the world record holder looked more comfortable on the track than he had since dropping out in 2017.

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Throwing out blocks quickly, he made a statement from the start as he raced down the track before sliding over the line to win his run in the first round.

The two-time world champion will once again line up with compatriot Zahiti Nene (who was third in his heat with a score of 45.69) in the one-lap semi-final on Wednesday.

In other competitions on the third day of the World Championships, marathoner Melihaja France participated in the race of his life.

Frans finished 18th in the men’s 42k and although he was well behind Ethiopian winner Tamirat Tola (who set a championship record of 2:05:36), the South African cut his personal best by more than two minutes. line crossing in 2:09:24.

Fellow national champion Tumelo Motlagale didn’t have a good day and finished 52nd out of 54 who finished in 2:20:21.

knocked out

Back on the track, former junior star Sokwahana Zazini placed seventh in her semi-final 400m hurdles with a score of 50.22, missing out on a place in the final.

African champion Miranda Coetzee was seventh in her 400m race in 53.30 and was eliminated in the first round.

Discus throwers Victor Hogan (60.51m) and Werner Visser (58.44m) also failed to qualify for the men’s discus throw.