12 Jun ’16
Cape Town – It seems like every time Wayde van Niekerk steps on to a track, he makes history, and it was the case once more at the Racers Grand Prix in Jamaica on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old world champion powered to the third-best ever 300m time of 31.03 – smashing his previous best of 31.63 – in beating American star LaShawn Merritt at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Van Niekerk’s mark is not far behind the best 300m time of 30.85 set by American great Michael Johnson in Pretoria in 2000, with Bolt in second at 30.97.
The Cape Town-born speedster is also the only athlete to have run the 100m in under 10 seconds (9.98), 200m sub-20 (19.94) and 400m sub-44 (43.48).
The likes of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala and Merritt had good starts, but once the field reached the final bend, Van Niekerk exploded away and held off Merritt (31.23) in the last 20 metres to win by a clear two-tenths of a second. Makwala faded to fifth in 31.91.
“Another opportunity to better myself and ran the 3rd fastest 300m time behind two legends of the sport,” Van Niekerk said on Instagram afterwards.
“And competing against a current 400m legend (Merritt). Pushing ourselves for more and more. Truly grateful and humbled to be able to be part of this amazing journey.
He added on Twitter: “Racers meeting Jamaica insane atmosphere. The race was so close.”
South African 100m record holder Simbine was also in fine form as he went head-to-head with Bolt, as well as a number of other top Jamaican athletes. Although he ended fifth, he produced an excellent time of 10.01.
1 Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) 31.03
2 LaShawn Merritt (USA) 31.23
3 Tony McQuay (USA) 31.64
5 Isaac Makwala 31.91