Men’s 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk has COVID-19

Reigning Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk has tested positive for the coronavirus in Italy.

South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk has tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of an athletics meet in Italy.

Van Niekerk, who set world record holder at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was confirmed to have the virus ahead of the Trieste Meet scheduled for yesterday, August 1.

He was down to take part in the 100m and 400m events in his first competition outside of his native South Africa since 2017.

Reports are that the 28-year-old sprinter has been in quarantine since July 19, the day he arrived in Italy.

van Niekerk, who won the gold medal in the 400m at the Rio Olympic Games, is considered one of the best all-round sprinters in the world. (Photo: Olympic Channel)

The news came as a surprise to athlete and his team, with his manager Peet van Zyl saying they have been tested several times in the past two weeks.

Van Zyl said, “I don’t know how it is possible. Wayde has been training for the whole week and never had any symptom, not even after testing positive. He hasn’t had a fever.

Wayde van Niekerk is also a two-time World Champion over the 400m.
(Photo: Olympic Channel)

“In the last 14 days each of us has been tested 4 times, the last one was on Thursday. This afternoon (Friday) we asked to be tested again, we want to make sure to be safe and we are waiting for the results.”

Van Niekerk, a two-time World Champion, is touted as being one of the best all-round sprinters having dipped below the 10-second mark in the 100m, the 20-second mark in the 200m and the 44-second mark over the 400m.