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Van Niekerk backs off from Zurich with injury

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Two-time world champion Wayde van Niekerk has withdrawn from Thursday’s 400-metre race at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, with a recurring back injury.

Van Niekerk, also the Olympic champion and world-record holder, has had to manage the niggle throughout the season, indeed for much of his stellar career, but managed to overcome the setback to retain his one-lap crown, and also take the 200m silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in London last week.

‘This injury has plagued me throughout the summer, and I had to receive treatment from Dr Muller-Wohlfahrt,’ Van Niekerk said. ‘Obviously you don’t want your competitors to know if you’re struggling in any way, so I’ve kept it quiet until this point.’

Returning to training this week after his successful campaign at the World Championships, the versatile 25-year-old sprinter felt the back injury flare up again.

After consultation with coach Ans Botha, it was decided to avoid the risk of competing again at this late stage of the season, as a precaution in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April.

‘I’m bitterly disappointed I won’t be competing in the last Diamond League event of the season, as I haven’t won a Diamond League Final before and was hoping to get my hands on one of the fiercely-contested Diamond trophies, but we feel it is in my best interest to recover fully, in order to ensure I can take on the 2018 season in good health and at full strength,’ Van Niekerk wrapped up.

Picture of Van Niekerk in London courtesy of Matthias Hangst/Getty Images


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