New 400m record holder says he’d love to race Usain Bolt
After setting the world record in the 400 meters on Sunday, Wayde Van Niekerk had a new challenge on his mind.
Van Niekerk was asked after the race by SI.com’s Chris Chavez whether he’d like to race against Usain Bolt in the 200 meters.
“My favorite event is the 200 meters, to be honest with you,” Van Niekerk said. “I’d love to race one day, when I’m big. These are guys that inspire me, that keep me competing, the same like with the guys in the 400 meters. I’d even love to run 100 meters with the big dogs one of these days.”
“He can’t beat me over 200 meters. I’m not worried about that,” Bolt responded later, with a laugh. “But I’m really proud of him. When he came to Jamaica I said to him, you’re the only person that can break this 400 meter world record.”
In his post-race press conference, Bolt entertained the notion of racing Van Niekerk at another distance.
“I would really like to compete with him over 300 meters,” he said. “I think that would be good.”
Van Niekerk is the African champion in the 200 meters but will not run the event in Rio. He was also a member of the South African team that won gold in the 4x100m relay at this year’s African championships. His personal best in the 100 meters is 9.98 seconds.
Bolt will compete in the 200 meters beginning on Tuesday and is the two-time defending Olympic champion in the event.