Everybody in South Africa is so proud of Wayde van Niekerk, who shattered the 17 year old world record for 400 meters sprinting in the Rio Summer Olympics of 2016. So who is this amazing 24 year old South African athlete?

Wayde is from Cape Town so students learning English at Oxford English Academy in the city might be lucky enough to spot this national hero! His illustrious international career began when he was just 17 years old and he has been sprinting competitively since then. He has broken a number of records and South Africans have high hopes that he will continue to successfully represent our country worldwide.

What is perhaps of more interest is who Wayde van Niekerk is as a person. Here are some interesting facts:

  • Wayde’s coach is Ans Botha, who is 70 years old! This amazing woman is a great grandmother and has been involved in sports coaching since the 1960s!
  • Wayde obviously has very sporty genes because his cousin also won an Olympic medal for rugby! In addition, Wayde’s mother Odessa Swarts was also a well-known South Africa sprinter.
  • Wayde was born prematurely and weighed only 1 kg! At his birth doctors feared that he might not survive. I’m sure they would not then have believed that today he would weight 70 kgs and would be 1.83 metres tall. Not to mention the fact that he is a world record holding athlete!
  • Wayde donated R 500 000 ($ 38 000) to help Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town to update their neonatal unit. This unit helps almost 3000 premature babies on a yearly basis.

I hope this post has given you some insight into Wayde van Niekerk. I also hope that it has inspired you to reach for your dreams because as he proves, nothing is impossible!

Photo courtesy of News.com.au