Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has tipped South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk to succeed him as track and field’s most dominant athlete.
Van Niekerk won a gold medal in the 400 metres at the Olympic Games in 2016 and has continued his rapid form into this year.
On Wednesday, at the Golden Spike event in Ostrava, the 24-year-old smashed a world record that had stood for 17 years. He ran the 300 metres in 30.81 seconds, eclipsing Michael Johnson’s previous best of 30.85 seconds.
Van Niekerk is also the only athlete this year to have completed a 100-metre sprint in under 10 seconds (9.94) and the 200-metre sprint in under 20 seconds (19.84).
Bolt was asked on Wednesday whether van Niekerk is the man to take the baton as the best on the track. The 30-year-old told Agence France-Presse: “Yeah for sure.”
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Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion, added: “I think he really wants to be a sprinter because he’s set a personal best in the 100 metres this year.
“He’s shown he’s ready for the challenge. He’s really down to earth, he’s really humble, he’s a great person. He listens and wants to be good and if he continues like this he’ll take over track and field.”
Bolt won the 100-metre event with a time of 10.06 seconds. However, he was unhappy with his own performance. “It wasn’t that good a race,” the 30-year-old said. “It was pretty slow.”