South Africa’s Van Niekerk wins brutal 400m final, taken to hospital

first_imgThis is how champions are made.South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk became the fourth fastest man in history as he emerged victorious from a gripping 400 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.Van Niekerk amassed an early lead before fending off LaShawn Merritt and Olympic gold medallist Kirani James to win in 43.48 seconds. All three men dipped below the 44-second barrier, with Merritt setting a new lifetime best of 43.65s to take silver ahead of James (43.78s).Van Niekerk was carted off on a stretcher after the race, unable to complete a lap of honour.However, South African team leader, Peter Lourens later said it was exhaustion. “It’s exhaustion. They are taking him to hospital for observation.”Van Niekerk, rightly, got himself a standing ovation.  The only other three to have achieved his feat are Michael Johnson, Harry ‘Butch’ Reynolds, and Jeremy Wariner.– Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtaglast_img