Wayde van Niekerk showed much promise in the build-up to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest but couldn’t replicate that speed he produced in the last few months when he took to the track for the 400m final on Thursday.
After just scraping into the final, the world record holder finished in last place in a disappointing 45.11 seconds as Jamaica’s Antonio Watson stormed to gold.
“I ran bad, I ran terrible, we all saw that. The run was well off, I mean I’m a 44 [second] athlete from the get-go of the season so I was wrong, I did not execute my race right. Things didn’t go my way and I’m still processing it all but it was definitely bad,” he said afterward.
Meanwhile, all three of South Africa’s 200m semifinalists missed out on places in Friday night’s final. After an unsettling delay because of a bizarre collision of the golf carts transporting the athletes to the track, Sinesipho Dambile finished fourth in his race in 20.28, Shaun Maswanganyi was seventh in his race in 20.65 and Luxolo Adams was sixth in 20.44.
Despite running a personal best time, Dambile was disappointed with his performance. “I expected much better but I couldn’t get it together. I hope the next race I’m better, but I don’t know, I’m a bit disappointed,” he said afterward.
Adams explained that he had felt dizzy after the golf cart incident and had been rattled by the delay in his race which was switched from first to last of the semifinals. “But I have no room for excuses to come here and tell you guys that, no this happened or whatever. Regardless of what happens, I have to go out there and fight.”
In the morning, the ever-green Wayne Snyman finished 21st in the 35km race walk in a time of 2:35:13.
Having returned from retirement, the 38-year-old said he had only 12 weeks of training for the event.
“Unfortunately, I think I lacked a little bit of training. I would have liked four to six weeks more but it was good. I didn’t stop to pour water on myself this time so that’s good. I’m happy with the race.
“I’m going to have to really sit back and decide why I want to do another Olympics. I have it in my legs, I showed it here – 12 weeks of training and [almost] top-20 – I think that’s really good. Ask me again in a little while. Maybe after I retire I’ll come back again.”
Watch All Our Athlete Interviews!
Our team on the ground at Budapest have been interviewing all South African athletes after their respective events. To get an inside view into strategy and their thoughts on their performances, click the button below to see for yourself what it takes to compete on a world stage!