Just yesterday we talked about it and his come back: the reigning 400-meter Olympic champion, Wayde van Niekerk, tested positive for to Covid-19 after the test he underwent on his arrival in Gemona, in Italoy, where he moved to train in view of the races that should have run in the next few hours.
28 years-old South African, who had just recovered from a bad injury and who was already in quarantine, will remain in solitary confinement and will therefore skip the meeting in Trieste where he should have taken to the track to race the 100 and 400: distance where he holds the world record (43 ”03), conquered in the Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro.
The trip to Italy, which became a kind of second home for him, and training in Friuli were the end of a nightmare for van Niekerk. Before becoming infected with the Coronavirus, the South African sprinter had in fact to wait two long years to recover from the rupture of the crusader of his right knee (caused by a 'touch rugby' game played in 2017 in his Cape Town) and return to train for return to the track for the first time in Trieste.
"Now I'm fine, but there were times when I didn't think I could reuse such a word anymore. Then move to the Tokyo Olympics? I will have more time to find the perfect condition. Tokyo will be an opportunity to pay homage to everything that has been my career so far, but also a goal to leave behind the pain and fear."
Wayde Van Niekerk out of the nightmare, but now..
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.