In October 2017, the record holder of the world of 400 meters as well as Olympic gold in Rio 2016, had a serious injury: Wayde Van Niekerk got injured during a rugby match played for fun. On 7 October 2017 he had in fact agreed to play rugby in his Cape Town.
It was supposed to be a game between VIPs, but it was a nightmare. Wayde slipped and his right knee underwent an unnatural twist. Four days later he ran to the hospital for a resonance: rupture of the crusader with fragments of both menisci scattered in the joint and perhaps some other damaged cartilage.
They said: it takes a long time. Those who predicted nine months, those who exaggerated: one year. Not even. It took two. But it was worth it. And then you can also wait two years. And still today, his Rio Olympic final remains a perfect image.
Van Niekerk started again after being afraid.
On July 15 he turned 28. He was awaited by the whole world. He must have been the heir of Usain Bolt, with whom he had long trained in Jamaica: one advised the other. At one point he feared that the knee could not stand the impact of the stresses.
Instead he started going fast again. Not yet as before. Wayde has been training for days in Gemona, Friuli, his second home. Saturday 1 August 2020 he ran to the Trieste Meeting, before 100 and after 400.
Wayde Van Niekerk on his come back
He said: "There were times when I didn't think I could reuse such a word anymore.
So many things have happened in these four years, that in a minute centuries have been concentrated but in the next minute it was already all over. moments, for better or for worse, incredible for me. I also try to see the positive side of the matter.
I will surely have more time to find the perfect condition. Tokyo will be an opportunity to pay homage to all that has been mine. career up to now, but also a goal to leave the pain and fear behind. All you have to do is see an Olympiad move is like getting up and seeing that the mountain you had in front of you every morning when you opened the window, or the sea, are been put somewhere else.
And you say there, but what did they do? Let's go step by step. My main goal is to improve the feeling with the track and stock up on positive sensations, which count more than the times of the stopwatch, in ques at the moment, still in transition.
Of course, it may be that in a while you begin to ask me if it will not be possible to go, not under 44", which would already be world-class times, but under 43": that is, tweaking my record. We'll see. I believe that 400 meters are the discipline that has evolved most in recent years, in terms of the number of names under 45" permanently and chronometric responses.
But also the quality of technical and tactical gesture. It would be enough to mention Gardiner, James, Merritt Curley and Norman. What Norman did is extraordinary. But they are all looking fine. Which enriched the value of the event and increases my desire to go back to trying all of them. I can't wait to be with him. alongside, to compete. "