Wayde van Niekerk wins on return as he continues recovery from knee injury

Wayde van Niekerk won successive world 400m titles at the 2015 and 2017 World Athletics Championships
Wayde van Niekerk won successive world 400m titles at the 2015 and 2017 World Athletics Championships

Olympic champion and 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk won his first race of the year as he continues his recovery from a long-term knee injury.

The South African, 27, first suffered the injury during a celebrity touch rugby match more than two years ago.

Van Niekerk, who suffered a further setback last year, returned to win a 100m race on grass at an unofficial university meet in Bloemfontein.

"It is good to be back running and I am satisfied with my time," he said.

"Thanks again to everyone who has assisted in my recovery."

Van Niekerk broke the Olympic and world 400m records set by American Michael Johnson in 1999 when he clocked 43.03 seconds at the Rio Games four years ago.

But the knee ligament injury he suffered in October 2017 saw him miss the Commonwealth Games the following year.

He made a winning return to action in a 400m race in the provincial Free State championship in February 2019, but missed the World Championships in September because of a bone bruise on the knee.

Van Niekerk, who is hoping to defend his Olympic 400m title in Tokyo this summer, won the 100m race on Monday in a hand-timed 10.20 seconds.

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