The all-round sprinter — Van Niekerk

He became the first SA athlete to set a world record in an Olympic track event since Paul Nash clocked 10.0 in the men's 100m dash in 1968. Let me also congratulate Akani Simbine for holding his own by finishing fifth in the men's 100m sprint behind Usain Bolt.

Van Niekerk said he had spent time with seven-time Olympic gold-medallist Bolt in Jamaica earlier this year.

Grenada's Kirani James took silver after winning gold in London four years ago, while the bronze medal went to LaShawn Merritt of the United States. "He just put those guys away". Van Nierkerk is the son of Odessa Swarts, a champion South African sprinter who would not participate on the world stage since South Africa was banned from all sports.

"I believed I could get the world record", the 24-year-old South African said.

Van Niekerk is trained by 74-year-old Ans Botha, who has been coaching athletes in South Africa since the 1960s.

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Van Niekerk repeatedly thanked God in the post-race press conference and praised his coach Anna Botha, a great-grandmother with nearly 50 years of coaching experience.

The Grenadian set off fast in lane five, Merritt on his coat-tails on the inside with Van Niekerk running solo out wide. "Can he go under 43 seconds?" said Johnson. Johnson said. "It is something I thought I could do, but never did. And he came to me after [the race] and said "I told you you can do it". "His Olympic Gold Medal win has made us all extremely excited and proud of him as a son of South Africa", says Anant Singh, member of the International Olympic Committee.

"It was the ideal opportunity to go out like in training and go as hard as you can", he said before adding: "It could easily have gone the opposite way but I'm just thankful for tonight". But when you keep going like that, there's going to be world records. "When he was training in Jamaica my coach said he's probably the only guy in the world right now who can break this 400m world record", Bolt told the media at a press conference, FoxSports reported.

Van Niekerk admitted he was surprised to see nobody on his shoulder as he rounded the final bend and it was the absence of his rivals that powered him towards history.

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