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Van Niekerk looks for positives in Tokyo postponement

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Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk says that while the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus outbreak was a "downer" the delay will give him time to regain full fitness after a long period on the sidelines due to injury.

FILE PHOTO – South Africa's 400m Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk looks on as he attends South African Championships in Germiston, South Africa, April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

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CAPE TOWN: Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk says that while the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus outbreak was a "downer" the delay will give him time to regain full fitness after a long period on the sidelines due to injury.

The 27-year-old was one of the stand-out performers of the 2016 Rio Games where he stormed to gold in a world record time of 43.03, smashing the previous mark of 43.18 set by Michael Johnson in 1999.

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But a serious knee injury sustained in a charity touch rugby game in October 2017 has meant Van Niekerk has seen very little of the track since.

He had just started his competitive comeback in the last few months, giving him little time to prepare for Tokyo.

“Im trying to see the positive in it,” Van Niekerk was quoted by South Africas Daily Maverick on Wednesday.

“I view it as more time to prepare, more time to work and more time to invest in my career. Tokyo is just another stepping stone to the entire legacy that I want to leave behind.”

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