South African track sensation Wayde van Niekerk vowed to get “ridiculous” when he competes in the little-run 300m at Wednesday’s Golden Spike meet in Ostrava.
The world and Olympic 400m champion, who broke Michael Johnson’s long-standing world record when winning gold in Rio, said he would do everything to break the meeting record set by his role model Usain Bolt, back in 2010.
The world record of 30.85sec, set at altitude in Pretoria in 2000 by Johnson, is seconded by Bolt’s 30.97, with van Niekerk third in the rankings, having run 31.03 in Kingston last year.
“I’ve had a few good runs this season so far,” said the 24-year-old. “I’ve been moving quite quick in the 100 and 200m, but I’ve still got quite a lot of world to do to get fit for the 300 and 400m. This is another stepping stone to see where I’m lying at the moment.
“We want to grow, do better and break records. I’ll give it my all and try to improve my time.”
Van Niekerk added: “It’s not really an official event, so I’m going to go out there and be ridiculous tomorrow, I’ve got nothing to lose.
“It’s the only 300m of the year… I’ll try and give you a show.
“It’s a massive test. I’m going to have to go out there and push myself a bit to feel where I’m lying so if I don’t make it to the finish line I hope there’ll be someone there to pick me up!”
Bolt backed Van Niekerk, the first athlete to break 10sec for the 100m, 20sec for the 200m and 44sec for the 400m, for great things, describing the South African as desperate to get one over him.
“It’s always an experience and something I really enjoyed doing,” the Jamaican said of racing the 300m.
“Wayde definitely wants to run faster than me so he can have something to brag about!
“He’s in good shape, I see him running the 200m in 19sec, he ran a personal best over the 100m, that shows he’s in good shape.
“After running the world record last year, I definitely think he has a chance” of beating the meet record.
Bolt added: “We’re really pretty cool. Wayde’s a chilled guy and he works hard. He’s a person who doesn’t complain at all, which is shocking… even when his coach kills him with a hard programme, which shows the determination and dedication that he has towards what he wants.
“He’s a really cool guy, very level-headed and he will be one of the best in the sport, without any doubt.”
Van Niekerk was equally full of praise for the eight-time Olympic gold medallist, saying: “Usain Bolt is someone that I can learn from and when there’s advice needed from him now and then, I pop in to ask him how he’s doing.”
Join GhanaStar.com to receive daily email alerts of breaking news in Ghana. GhanaStar.com is your source for all Ghana News. Get the latest Ghana news, breaking news, sports, politics, entertainment and more about Ghana, Africa and beyond.