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The remarkable rise of Wayde van Niekerk is far, far from over.
Setting the 400m World Record at the Rio Olympics last year, some doubters perhaps thought that the South African sprinter’s career had peaked. That is until tonight.
At the Ostrava Golden Spike meet in the Czech Republic, where non-standard distances are commonly run, van Niekerk became the fastest human being over 300 metres breaking the previous record set by American Michael Johnson in 2000 by 0.04 seconds.
Sure, that might seem like a narrow margin, but this additional stat makes the performance — and van Niekerk’s overall recent form — even more remarkable.
.@WaydeDreamer is now the first man in history to go:
sub-10 for 100m
sub-20 for 200m
sub-31 for 300m
sub-44 for 400m
— IAAF (@iaaforg) June 28, 2017
Not even Jamaica’s Usain Bolt held this record.
Quickly picked up by South Africans, the IAAF’s tweet went viral scoring over 600 retweets and a slew of favourites within an hour.
@WaydeDreamer, #GoldenSpike and the IAAF itself all subsequently began trending in the country after van Niekerk’s race.
The mood on South African Twitter is currently one of swelling pride.
“That’s our boy right there and this is just the beginning,” one user wrote.
That’s our boy right there and this is just the beginning.
— Sifiso Cele (@SifisoCele1) June 28, 2017
Wayde van Niekerk just erased what was left of Michael Johnson from the record books! pic.twitter.com/iIbk620W0F
— Mosh (@Moshebi_Thulo) June 28, 2017
And world record!!! Damn! pic.twitter.com/phlLWELqsQ
— Bae Wodumo (@Scuddy9nine) June 28, 2017
He is a beast. Already a legend
— letlhogonolo thameng (@Thameng1000) June 28, 2017
World: Michael Johnson’s 17 year old record is unbreakable
Wayde Van Niekerk: pic.twitter.com/MIH9V2lXjy
— Boitumelo Springbok (@SpringB_Jay) June 28, 2017
As for Wayde van Niekerk’s reaction? Well, this quote published by the IAAF just a few hours before the race says it all.
— IAAF (@iaaforg) June 27, 2017
“I’m going to go out there & be ridiculous & see what happens. I’ve got nothing to lose,” he told press, before writing his name in the record books yet again.