Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic 400m champion and world record holder, was one of 16 athletes who met with the press in the lead-in to last Friday’s IAAF World Athletics Awards 2016. Seven images snapped during the semi-formal get-togethers that took place at the Fairmont Hotel in Monaco follow below.
The 24-year-old South African followed up on his solid 2015 season in which he won the world title with a campaign that saw him unbeaten in 11 finals over three events, capped by his 43.03 world record in the Rio final which took down the record Michael Johnson held for 17 years.
Four Q’s and Four A’s
What was his key highlight from the 2016 season?
Wayde van Niekerk: There was no one highlight – everything about this season and Rio has been a blessing. It’s given me so much motivation and confidence to go out and try to achieve more.
Does he still hate the 400m?
Yeah, with everything. (Laughs). I am really not a fan of the 400 meters. But it brought me to where I am so I can’t complain.
After his success with the 400, will he continue with the shorter sprints?
Yeah for sure. I’m really looking forward to working on my 100m and 200 meters. I always say that my first love in the sport was the short sprints. That’s why I do track and field. The 400 meters has brought me this far, so I don’s see a reason to go out there and neglect it. I feel that I should still put in a lot of effort in the 400 but at the same time I’ve got such a massive hunger inside me to improve my 100 and 200 as well.
After running 9.98, 19.94 and 43.03 in 2016, can he consider himself the best all around sprinter ever?
I wouldn’t say, ‘No, thank you.’ (Laughs). But at the same time it’s opened up a door of confidence in myself mentally to want to go out there and improve in each and every one of them. I’m definitely working quite hard towards that. And I’m feeling quite confident.
Five Snaps (and a Bonus!)