THREE-time Olympic 100m king Usain Bolt is keen to take on South Africa’s new 400m Games champion Wayde van Niekerk.
Supposed to be reserved exclusively for the Jamaican superstar as he became the first man to win three consecutive sprint titles.
But Van Niekerk, 24, muscled in on Bolt’s limelight after smashing the world record in dominant fashion, less than 30 minutes before the 100m final – and the Jamaican was happy to share centre stage with him.
The pair got to know each other when Van Niekerk and SA 100m star Akani Simbine spent two weeks training with Bolt, his teammates and coach Glen Mills in Jamaica in June.
“It was brilliant,” Bolt said of Van Niekerk’s record. “I was running back and they were [asking] who’s going to win? And I was ‘Van Niekerk is definitely going to win from lane eight. The way he runs, he’s going to be brilliant’. And when he got the world record I was like ‘wow!'”
“I told him in Jamaica . we were having a conversation and I was saying my coach says you’re probably the only guy right now, other than me, that can break this [400m] world record because he got speed and he got strength. He came out here to prove me right.”
Van Niekerk also recalled the conversation in Kingston. “He told me back in Jamaica that ‘you would break the world record’ and he came to me after the race and he said ‘I told you you can do it’.”
Asked if he would like to take on Bolt over 200m, Van Niekerk replied: “I would love to race him one day.”
The he added with a smile: “When I’m big. I would even love to run 100m with the big dogs one day.”
Van Niekerk is the only man in history to have dipped below 10 seconds in the 100m, 20 in the 200m and 44 in the 400m.
Bolt was asked after his race if he would consider taking on Van Niekerk over 300m.
“I think that would be a good race. This year I was hoping I was in good shape and my coach told me they were going to put on a 300m.
“I wasn’t in the best of shape but I really, really wanted to be in that race so hopefully next season, if he’s in good shape and my coach puts the meet on again, I’ll get the chance to run. I would really like to compete against him over 300m,” said Bolt, whose 30.97 is the second-fastest ever over the distance, a non-Olympic event.
Bring on Bolt versus Van Niekerk!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015