South Africa’s 400 metre world record holder Wayde van Niekerk was missing from the starting line of a scheduled race in Hungary on Tuesday.
Van Niekerk took to social media to explain his absence. He says he had discomfort in his lower back during warm-up, and his coach decided to pull him out of the race “as it is not worth risking anything so close to the Tokyo Olympics.”
At the same meeting, Akane Simbine shattered his own personal best, setting a new African record of 9.84 in the 100 metres.
That’s the second fastest time in the world this year, and sets him up as a real medal contender in the Olympics’ blue riband event.
Hey Dreamers! I am still well ??. I had discomfort in my lower back in my warm-up before the race last night so Coach and my team decided to pull me out of the race as it is not worth risking anything so close to #Tokyo2020. Thanks to @GyulaiMemorial and for everyone’s concern??
— Wayde van Niekerk (@WaydeDreamer) July 7, 2021
Race day in @GyulaiMemorial Hungary. ??
Battle of the best in the world the perfect opportunity.
— Wayde van Niekerk (@WaydeDreamer) July 6, 2021