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.
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."
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.”
105 days since my surgery. I was asked to highlight some of the negatives and challenges of this process. - Since day one I hoped for a miracle, speaking to God, spending time with my bible and just wishing I did not need an operation. But this was my reality and I just had to accept my situation and find a reason to smile again ASAP. - I have always been someone who struggled to get in touch with my ability to believe in myself and be confident, because there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. This process taught me that you should never be ashamed of your God given blessings and to fight for the gift I was freely blessed with. Today I enter my day keeping this in mind: I will become dominate and out of reach to anyone trying to achieve what I've done, because it's something I'm great at and my goal is to perfect and master this blessing. - First 2 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. Especially when it came to simple things like walking again, balancing, stretching, keeping stable and even getting up to get something to drink. All these simple things became so challenging in my day to day routines that I'd always end up irritated and regretting the position I was in. But for my own health and happiness I quickly had to realise that if regret is what I speak into this process of strength and healing then regret, an irritated spirit and mindset, and a snapping reaction to situations would start becoming a reality in the decisions I make and that's not a good direction to go into when doing something you love, and surrounding yourself with people you love. To me love is. Patient. Kindness. Not to envy. Not to boast. Not to be proud. Not to dishonor others. Not self seeking. Not easily angered. And I'll never be able to practice love if I dwell in the negatives all the time. So that's a few of many challenges I had to phase.
📸 @wreffimages “Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.” I’m no longer afraid or ashamed of what I’ve been set on this earth for and stand firm in my dream. I speak Life. - Yes, I am stronger than ever before. - Yes, I am the greatest. - Yes, I will rewrite history. - Yes, I will take all my records back. - Yes, I will dominate again. - Yes, I will be out of reach. And - No, I will not hold back or be ashamed of the greatness and hard work I put in to remain the best. #QuietStorm🤫
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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