Five things to know about Wayde van Niekerk


Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) of South Africa reacts after winning the gold medal and setting a new world record in the men's 400m final.

RIO DE JANEIRO -Here are five facts about Wayde van Niekerk, who broke the men&39;s 400m world record at the Olympic Games with a time of 43.03sec in Rio on Sunday.

One family, two medals

Van Nierkerk is not the only member of his family to have won a medal in Rio. His cousin is Cheslin Kolbe, who won bronze with the South African sevens rugby team last week. Van Nierkerk had a large number of his family at the stadium on Monday to witness his record-breaking run.

From Cape Town to Rio, via Beijing

The Cape Town-born star arrived in Rio with form. His winning time at the Beijing world championships last year was 43.48. In his slipstream that day taking bronze was the London 2012 champion Kirani James and silver went to LaShawn Merritt.

That pair filled the minor places again in Rio, only in different order.

In China, he became South Africa&39;s first world sprint champion.

Coached by a grandmother, and in Jamaica

In his quest for Olympic glory, the 24-year-old linked up with Usain Bolt&39;s coach Glen Mills in Jamaica in the run-up to Rio. "We have a good relationship with coach Mills, I&39;ve got to know him on the circuit over the last few months and years," Van Niekerk said in June.

His coach back home is a 74-year-old white-haired grandmother, Ans Botha. The unlikely combination teamed up three years ago, the move paying dramatic dividends.

Sprint history-maker

Van Niekerk created athletics history in March when he became the first person to break 10-sec for 100 metres, 20s for 200m and 44s for 400m. Having already clocked 19.94 seconds and 43.48sec in the 200 and 400m, Van Niekerk timed 9.98sec in the 100m in Bloemfontain.

Marketing man

Born and raised in Cape Town,  Van Niekerk showed his aptitude for sport from a young age. But after attending a local college he continued his education, studying marketing at University of the Free State.