South Africa’s golden boy Wayde Van Niekerk’s heroic performance and superhuman victory at the just concluded 2016 Rio Olympics has continued to earn him pleasant surprises from well-meaning South Africans.
Earlier this month, the drop-dead gorgeous runner smiled home with a fancy new wheel – a red Audi R8 worth a whopping R1.8 million with his name on the plate number. Van Niekerk was handed the keys to the jaw-dropping ride at the OR Tambo International Airport; on his arrival from the international sporting event.
Not only that, the stunning athlete was presented with a cheque for R1million by his sponsors T-Systems; having lived up to expectations at the Olympic games.
And while we thought that South Africans are done lavishing their love and goodies on the Olympic gold medallist, Western Cape Premier Hellen Zile has taken another impressive move to immortalize the dashing young man.
Wayde Van Niekerk To Be Immortalized
BuzzSouthAfrica learned that Zille has written to Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille proposing that Green Point Athletics Stadium be renamed after Van Niekerk.
According to the Premier, immortalizing the Kraaifontein-born athlete’s smashing victory “would not only serve as a reminder of his incredible story but would be an inspiration to many other young people – demonstrating that anything is possible with the right combination of discipline, hard work, and dedication”.
In addition, Zile asserted that immortalizing the 24-year-old would be worthwhile because he did not only do the country proud‚ but his home city and province.
In August, at Rio, Van Niekerk stunned the world on a very “good” Monday morning when he dashed to victory in the 400m final in Rio; launching a new world record time of 43.03.
In front of an uproarious crowd in Rio, the athlete annihilated two previous Olympic champions to break the first men’s track and field world record with an unbelievable 43.03sec from the unlikely position of lane eight.
He rocketed from the blocks on lane 8 when the gun went out, beating defending champion Kirani James, from Grenada and America’s LaShawn Merritt; who fought like pit bulls in the center lanes to win the race.
His victory smashed Michael Johnson’s 1999 record by 0.15 seconds in the process – Johnson’s matchless mark of 43.18sec had stood since 1999, and has not been seriously challenged since.
The spunky runner carried South Africa’s flag at the opening ceremony. He is not a greenhorn in the athletics world; having won the 400m final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Remarkably, the South African gold winner is coached by a 74-year-old great-grandmother; Ans Botha – to whom he dedicated his victory and jaw-dropping gifts.