South Africa has its first gold medal at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games and it came in some style too. Wayde Van Niekerk smashed the 400 metre world record to take the country’s overall medal tally in Rio to seven. This is now South Africa’s best showing at the Games since readmission in 1992.
It had been a good Olympic Games so far for Team South Africa. But it lacked a gold medal. And poster boy Van Niekerk was expected to deliver in Rio. The 24-year-old was in an outside lane but that made no difference.
Van Niekerk crosses the finishing line in Rio in a world record time of 43.03 seconds.
Van Niekerk sprinted his way into history. The Bloemfontein boy smashed the world record in a time of 43.03 seconds to take first place. Michael Johnson’s previous best had stood since 1999.
In doing so the Cape Town-born sprinter wrote his name into history and delivered South Africa’s first gold medal at these Games. Kirani James was second, 0.73 seconds behind while LaShawn Merritt took bronze. Van Niekerk’s victory also pushes the South Africans up to seven medals overall. This outdoes the six medals won in Athens in 2004 as well as in London four years ago.
Photo credits: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA