Wayde Van Niekerk–the world leader, the world record holder, the World Champion, the Olympic Champion–successfully defended his World Championship title in a time of 43.98.
Running from lane 6, Van Kiekerk looked in control from the gun. He stormed around the final curve, and came into the home straight with three steps on the field. He didn’t have much work to do to maintain his lead, and eased up at the finish to just sneak under the 44-second barrier.
Temperatures were in the high 50s in London, so no one was likely going to run tremendously fast–that is if we consider 43.98, not tremendously fast. This is what the era of Wayde Van Niekerk has done to us.
He gave a pretty subdued reaction upon crossing the finish line. This was perhaps due in part to the fact that his biggest competition in this race, Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, was barred from entering the stadium this afternoon, and the field was severely weakened as a result.
The lone American in the race, 22-year old Fred Kerley, shot out of the blocks and ran a very aggressive first 200m out of lane 1. His goose was cooked, however, and he faded to last place over the last 100m.
Rounding out the medals were Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas, who became the Bahamian Record holder over the distance in the semi-final. And Bronze went to Qatar’s Abdalelah Haroun, who ran through the finish and stole his podium spot from Botswana’s Babolaki Thebe who let up just a little too soon.
The discussion surrounding Wayde now is if he is in fact the sport’s new Usain Bolt. He’s got the medals, he’s got the records, now all he needs is a signature pose.