No races for Wayde van Niekerk in 2018

South Africa sprinter's manager confirms that track star will sit out this season.

Wayde van Niekerk will miss the entire 2018 season after rupturing right knee ligaments during a celebrity touch rugby game in October.

His manager Peet van Zyl told Sportsmail that the Olympic and world 400m champion won't make his competitive comeback until next year.

“His rehab is going great. He’s in really good shape. The injury is healed properly and all that, but between the coach and himself, we’re not going to let him race this year. There’s no major championships this year or anything,” van Zyl was quoted by NBC.

The South African is expected to return to normal training on the track this July, his agent said.

Better safe than sorry

Initially, the 25-year-old was upbeat that he would only have to sit out the first half of the 2018 outdoor season, missing the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

But after weeks of rehabilitation in Colorado, Doha and at home in Bloemfontein, the outlook changed. The road to recovery became longer and longer.

Van Zyl told the Olympic Channel van Niekerk will ease back to avoid a setback.

"He will start his normal track training, bike training. Do a lot of track work. Not high intensity, but a lot of running to get everything back in the legs. He needs all the endurance."

Staying upbeat 

Van Niekerk last raced on August 10. He had to undergo surgery after the infamous rugby match in Cape Town on October 7, in which he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and suffered medial and lateral tears of his meniscus.

There were tough times after the operation.

“First two months post-surgery I regretted every moment wishing I could turn back time or just redo the decisions that brought me to where I am now,” he lamented.

“Especially when it came to simple things like walking again, balancing, stretching, keeping stable and even getting up to get something to drink.”

But the 400m world record holder quickly recovered his optimistic attitude.

Double double

Van Niekerk remains the only sprinter in history to run sub-44 for the 400m, sub-20 for the 200m and sub-10 for the 100m.

As there are no more major championships this year, the focus in his camp has shifted to how fast he will be when he finally does race again.

“He is dedicated and motivated,” van Zyl added.

After all the superstar still is dreaming of winning 200m/400m double-double gold at the world championships 2019 in Doha and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.


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