S. African 400m W.Record holder speaks about injury trauma
FILE PHOTO: South African 400m world record holder Wayde Van Nierkerk. /REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: South African 400m world record holder Wayde Van Nierkerk. /REUTERS

South African 400m world record holder Wayde Van Nierkerk has spoken out about his injury trauma, and said he is “100 percent ready” to return to action when lockdown lifts.

“There were days when I couldn’t walk,” Van Niekerk told the Paris edition of the Wanda Diamond League Call Room, which is set to air on Facebook and YouTube from 18.00 GMT this Saturday.

The 27-year-old, who has been out of action with a knee injury since 2017, said he has learned to differentiate between “bad pain when I am on the brink of injuring myself and pain where I just need a day or two of rest and recovery”.

“I had to learn to listen to my body more, and I thank my coaches for listening to me when I am in that situation. You get a lot of coaches who would have pushed athletes through that pain, but my team was very patient.”

“My body is feeling good. I have had time to allow my knee to get used to that on your marks feeling.”

He ran successfully over all three sprinting distances in Bloemfontein last February, and says he is now “100 percent ready” to return to action.

“That gave me a massive confidence boost to know that I still have my speed. I knew I needed to challenge my body to break through the barriers. Now I just need to puzzle everything back together again to run the 400m successfully.”

With the Diamond League season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the South African star is itching to get back on the track.

“It was a bit difficult, because I felt like it was my time to start competing again! I had to shift my mind again back to working and grinding, so that when I get my opportunity, I am ready.”

“I think it was easier for me than for some other athletes, because I have been in a two-year, lockdown hibernation vibe anyway with my injury!”

(With input from the Diamond league)