Wayde van Niekerk wins 400m gold after historic race in Beijing

The race was the first time in history that three athletes ran less than 44 seconds

Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa falls on the track after winning the men’s 400m final during the Beijing 2015 IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium. Photo: Franck Robichon/PA

Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa falls on the track after winning the men’s 400m final during the Beijing 2015 IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium. Photo: Franck Robichon/PA

 

South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk became the fourth fastest man over 400m in history as he won his first world championship title, holding off defending champion LaShawn Merritt and Olympic gold medalist Kirani James in Beijing.

Shortly after Van Niekerk crossed the line he required medical treatment beside the track. According to reports an ambulance was called as a precaution but was not required.

The 23-year-old South African went out hard and held on to win in 43.48 seconds. Merritt took silver in a personal best 43.65 seconds and James finished third in a season-best 43.78 seconds.

Merritt and Van Niekirk came off the final bend together but the experienced American faded along the home straight and finished just ahead of the advancing James in the first 400m race to feature three men running under 44 seconds.

“It was a special occasion,” James told the BBC after the race. “A once-in-a-lifetime race and I am glad to be part of a special group of 400m runners in this era.”

British athlete Rabah Yousif finished sixth in 44.68 seconds, one tenth shy of his personal best.

“There were a lot of fireworks in the final,” Rabah said afterwards. “I tried to come out and put in a decent performance but it was just beyond my reach. I will take that, go home and come back and cause some problems.

“It is quite an achievement for me to come here and make the final and run 44 seconds back to back, but I will come back stronger.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.