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Van Niekerk ready to be the next Bolt

Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 01:11

South African sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk says he's aiming to beat 'the impossible' and appreciates praise from Usain Bolt.

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SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 2, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPRINTER, WAYDE VAN NIEKERK, SAYING: "How would... I don't think I aim for a specific status but I think when it comes to performances I'd like to believe that I can continue growing, continue doing great things, continue changing history books. At this moment I have something that no other athlete has. Like you've mentioned which is the 100 (metres) 200 (metres) and 400 (metres) (VAN NIEKERK IS THE FIRST ATHLETE TO RUN UNDER 10 SECONDS IN THE 100 METRES, 20 SECONDS IN THE 200 METRES AND 44 SECONDS IN THE 400 METRES) but at the same time I want to have times that no one else has achieved. And that's what, that's what where I'm aiming towards. So I'll aim for the impossible and I have to land some where along there." 2. WHITE FLASH 3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPRINTER, WAYDE VAN NIEKERK, RESPONDING TO PRAISE FROM USAIN BOLT WHO BELIEVES VAN NIEKERK CAN BE THE NEXT SUPER STAR IN ATHLETICS, SAYING: "Yes, I mean it's a massive honour, especially the person he is and what he's done for track and field and and the great heights that he has achieved as an athlete. It's always massive to get the recognition from a great athlete like Usain Bolt but it also takes a lot of responsibility now for me to go out there and work for that recognition that I've got and obviously I appreciate it every positive seed that gets sown in my life." STORY: Wayde van Niekerk, the athlete identified by Usain Bolt as the next trailblazer for global athletics, was adamant on Wednesday (August 2) that he has the ability and potential to become the face of his sport. The day after Bolt had lavished him with praise, the South African Van Niekerk told Reuters that he was ready to rewrite the history books and can handle the expectations being heaped upon him before the World Athletics Championships, which start in London on Friday (August 4). It is perfectly possible that the 25-year-old could upstage Bolt in the Jamaican's final championship by pulling off a 200 metres/400 metres double that has not been achieved since Michael Johnson in Gothenburg in 1995. Van Niekerk is also being tipped to threaten the 400m world record of 43.03 seconds that he took from Johnson at the Olympic Games last year in a positive direction as an athlete. Van Niekerk may not have the sparkling personality that Bolt possesses although, as he demonstrated in an assured performance in front of the world's media here in the shadow of the London Stadium, he's clearly growing more comfortable in the limelight. And he has a string to his bow that even Bolt does not possess as the only man to have broken 10 seconds for 100m, 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m and his options for the future have left him and his remarkable 75-year-old coach Ans Botha, a great grandmother, spoilt for choice. Van Niekerk said he feels in the best shape of the season and believes his compatriot Akani Simbine is a big threat in the 200 metres, rather than Canada's Olympic silver medallist, Andre De Grasse. The South African also stressed that he wants and needs to improve every year with his ambitions for the future being the 100 metres.

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Van Niekerk ready to be the next Bolt

Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 01:11