Not even a career-threatening injury can hold Wayde van Niekerk back from pursuing his dream of becoming one of the greatest track stars in history.
The 400m world record holder has not yet started running again, while recovering from a serious knee injury, but he is confident that he will be back with a vengeance as he targets a return in 2019.
For now, the world’s best one-lap sprinter is taking baby steps as he looks to regain his strength and speed after undergoing an operation in October 2017.
“We’re giving me another two to three months before I start running again, so let’s see how the rehab goes,” Van Niekerk said this week.
“I go back again late August, or early September, to do another few tests and those tests will dictate whether I can start slowly but surely running again.”
Van Niekerk was speaking at the premiere of his documentary 43:03 – The Wayde van Niekerk Story in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.
Newly appointed Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, prop Beast Mtawarira and Proteas cricket player JP Duminy were among the guests at the screening.
Van Niekerk said the injury had done little to diminish his pursuit for greatness and he was looking to chip away at the global record of 43.03 he set at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I would like to be remembered as someone that lived out his God-given gifts and that is basically what I am doing,” he said.
“I know what I’m capable of, I know what I need to do when I get back to the field.
“The goal is definitely 42 (seconds) so for me my mind isn’t even at 43 anymore. I’m a 42 athlete.”
The sprinting phenom is the only man to have produced sub-10, sub-20, sub-31 and sub-44 performances over the 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m distances, and he hopes to be competitive again across the board.
“I’ll be the same Wayde that you’ve always seen, doing the 100m, 200m and 400m,” Van Niekerk said.
“No injury should make me doubt my dreams and where I want to be some day.”