South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk after his victory (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Ostrava, Czech Republic

Van Niekerk to race over 300m in Ostrava

Organisers of the Golden Spike have announced that world and Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk will contest the 300m at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on 28 June.

The 24-year-old South African, a finalist for World Athlete of the Year honours in 2016, is already the third fastest ever over the rarely-run distance. At a Racers Grand Prix meeting in Kingston last June, van Niekerk sped to a 31.03 performance, trailing just Michael Johnson's 30.85 world best set in Pretoria in 2000, and Usain Bolt's 30.97 run from 2010 in Ostrava on the world all-time list.

"I've always enjoyed racing in Ostrava and I look forward to competing here again," said van Niekerk, who was second at the meeting over 400m in 2013.

"The 300m event is a great way to gauge my fitness in the early stages of a long season, as it will give me a good indication of my potential in the 200m and 400m sprints this year. I hope for a good run and, as always, a great time as well."

During his 43.03 400m world record run at last year's Olympic Games, van Niekerk's unofficial split at 300m was 31.0.

Czech star Pavel Maslak, the two-time world indoor and three-time European indoor 400m champion, will also be in the field gunning for a sub-32-second performance.

The men's 300m will honour Istvan Gyulai, the late General Secretary of the IAAF.

Van Niekerk is the latest Olympic champion announced for the meeting's 56th edition. Previously announced were double world and Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, who'll compete in the 10,000m, Thomas Rohler of Germany, who'll contest the javelin, and Christian Taylor of the US in the triple jump.

Bob Ramsak and organisers for the IAAF