SOUTH AFRICA’s superstar Wayde van Niekerk is never boastful and he rarely talks about how great he is on the track.
But after coming second to grab a silver medal in the men’s 200m final, Van Niekerk let it out.
After a two days riddled with controversy and an arduous six races in as many days, he had to let out some steam.
As Van Niekerk shed tears of joy, his biggest rival, Isaac Makwala, who had the sympathy of the host nation, was inconsolable for losing the final as he kicked everything his way.
Some believe Van Niekerk would not have won the men’s 400m final if Makwala had taken part in it on Tuesday night. But Van Niekerk believes he set the record straight as he finished ahead in the 200m.
Van Niekerk believes he got the respect that he deserved by silencing Botswana and Makwala, who argued that he would not have won the 400m title had he not been prevented from running the race because of the norovirus bug he contained on Monday night.
There were lots of doubts as to whether Van Niekerk would be able to finish ahead of him or not.
But now everyone seem to have been given their answers. Makwala suffered a broken heart and broke down during interviews.
Van Niekerk was hoping to match US sprinting legend, Michael Johnson, who bagged the 200m and 400m world title in 1995, but it was not to be as he was denied by Turkish Ramil Guliyev, who clocked in 20.09 seconds to take the gold.
Van Niekerk finished second with 20.11 while Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards took bronze with 20.11 in a photo finish race.
One could have been forgiven to think that Makwala was a British athlete as he received the biggest cheer in the final, but only finished in a disappointing sixth place.
Van Niekerk said: “It’s been a successful championship for me but it’s been difficult to race six times in two days. I barely made it to the final and silver is a beautiful colour to have.
“The tears were because I felt I didn’t get the respect I deserve even though I work so hard for what I’ve achieved. But I’ve learnt this is a competition and we’ve all come out compete. We’re not here to make friends. I came here to compete and I got the job done.”