Olympic champion and 400 meter world record holder Wayde van Niekerk suffered medial and lateral tears of the meniscus and torn ACL in a celebrity rugby match in Capetown on October 7. He will undergo surgery in Colorado, which will be followed by six months of rehabilitation. As a result, he will miss the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he was expected to contest the 100 meters and 200 meters.
Van Niekerk's agent says that the 400 meter world champion plans to rehab in Vail, Colorado; Doha, Qatar and South Africa.
"I was looking forward to competing in the 100 meter and 200 meter events in Gold Coast, and participating at the national championships in March, so this is unfortunate timing," Van Niekerk said in a statement. "But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals, will make this process as smooth as possible. I have faith that, God willing, I'll be able to race again later next year. Full recovery is going to be crucial, so I'll be patient, but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible."
Van Niekerk set the 400 meter world record of 43.03 at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He won the 2015 IAAF World Championships title in the 400 meters and defended his gold medal at this summer's world championships in London. He also won a silver in the 200 meters.
The Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia in April.