Wayde van Niekerk is an iconic South African athlete. He has shattered world records, set several records of his own, and has even been praised by the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt. Van Niekerk has made his home country proud yet again in 2021 by the impressive running that qualified him for the Tokyo Olympics. What was his childhood like? What is his story? Get a glimpse into the life of South Africa's fastest man.
As a serial breaker of world records, Wayde van Niekerk has managed to solidify his name as one of the greatest South African athletes of all time before even hitting the age of 30. His cheetah-like speed has landed him in the top, and Usain Bolt has said that Wayde will most likely take over track and field after him. This article explores fascinating details about Wayde van Niekerk.
- Full name: Wayde van Niekerk
- Date of Birth: 15th July 1992
- Wayde van Niekerk age: 28 years
- Place of birth: Kraaifontein, Western Cape, South Africa
- Nationality: South African
- Gender: Male
- Parents: Wayde van Niekerk and Odessa Swarts
- Spouse: Chesney Campbell
- Sport: Track and field
- Event: Sprints
- Team: Adidas
- Wayde van Niekerk height: 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
- Weight: 70 kg (154 lb)
- Wayde van Niekerk Coaches: Lance Brauman, Anna Botha (2012–2021)
- Manager: Peet van Zyl
- Favourite football team: Liverpool
- Religion: Christianity
Early life and bio
Wayde was born in Kraaifontein, Cape Town. He was delivered ahead of his time and had to get a blood transfusion to stabilise him; the doctors made his mother aware that he would likely not survive his first 24 hours. However, his mother later remarked that he has always been fast, as he even left the womb a month earlier.
He attended Bellville Primary and later on joined Simonberg Primary, after which he and his mother relocated to Bloemfontein. He then studied at Grey College before pursuing marketing at the University of the Free State.
His biological parents are divorced.
Van Niekerk's entry into the track was from rugby, although his mom, Odessa Swarts, was a track and field competitor who set national records and was pretty fast in her time. However, she decided to compete in the non-racial sports organisation that opposed apartheid; this meant that she could not compete on behalf of the nation in international sporting events.
Track and field
Wayde Van Niekerk does great on 200m and 400m runs; they are what he is mainly known for in the track and field. His career on the track took off to a rocky start. Follow the timeline of his career.
- 2010: This was when he began competing internationally in the World Junior Championships in Athletics. He was in 4th place in the 200m and participated in the 4x100m relay race.
- 2011: He joined the South African Athletics Championships, where he achieved 1st place in a 200m race.
- 2012: Began participating in the 400m races, setting a personal best time of 46.43 seconds.
- 2013: Received his 2nd national title for the 400m race at the South African Championship. After that, he participated in the IAAF Meeting de Dakar where he achieved 1st place, and later went to Europe for the Golden Spike Ostrava, where he was 2nd to Kirani James.
- 2014: He got another national title, topping world rankings in the process. He was also 1st at the FBK Games in the Netherlands but fell short in the New York Diamond League, taking 2nd place. In the Commonwealth Games of 2014, he became 2nd after Kirani.
- 2015: He defeated Kirani James for the first time at the Meeting Areva and was placed at the all-time top 12. Days later, he won a 200m race at the Luzern Spitzen Leichtathletik with 19.94 seconds, making him the 2nd man ever to have gone under 20 seconds for the 200m race and under 44 seconds for the 400m race. At the 2015 World Championships in Athletics, he was first again. This show of speed made him the 4th fastest runner of all time.
- 2016: Was a monumental year for the star athlete. He broke the 10-second barrier in 100m; this made him the first person to break 10 seconds for 100m, 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m. He qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics, where he went ahead and won gold in the 400m race with a record time of 43.03 seconds, breaking Michael Johnson's record set in 1999 and setting a new Wayde van Niekerk world record. He also won the Best Male Athlete at the Rio 2016 Olympics Awards.
- 2017: Won the 400m race at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London and finished 2nd in the 200m race.
- 2021: In June, South Africans watched with bated breath to see if Wayde Van Niekerk will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. He produced a qualifying time of 44.56 seconds at a World Athletics Continental Tour event in Madrid.
Wayde van Niekerk's injuries
His first notable injury was in October 2017, when he took part in a rugby match. He tore his ACL, went into surgery, and began treatment immediately after.
He also reportedly had a hip problem in a 200m race in Boston in May of 2021 and suffered injuries in 2010 at the World Junior Championships in Athletics.
He has said that his numerous injuries made him want to quit running. It had become too hard. However, he kept pushing through the pain and has come out on top.
Wayde van Niekerk's wife is Chesney Campbell. They tied the knot on 29th October 2017. He popped the question the year before in December, and she said yes. He took to Twitter to share the good news with his 127,000 followers.
His other social media accounts are thriving as well with Wayde van Niekerk Instagram account having more than 300k followers and Facebook having 140k friends.
How much does Wayde van Niekerk earn?
Everything changed for him after Rio. He signed several sponsorship deals with big brands like Audi, Adidas and Visa, among many others. These deals are estimated to be in the tune of £1.5 million, which translates to about R29 million.
Wayde van Niekerk took running in South Africa to a new level. The entire world is watching and waiting to see what new surprises the young star has in store for the athletes in Tokyo.
Briefly.co.za recently published a list of the top 10 richest soccer players in South Africa 2021. For a player to earn a lot of money from football, they need to have excellent skills.
Some of the affluent football players have since retired, like Diane Klate and Teko Modise, while others like Ejike Uzoenyi and Dove Wome have left South African football. Read on to find out who has enormous bank accounts.
Source: Briefly News