Every success story started with a dream; so is the life story of the Olympian record-holder Wayde van Niekerk, who calls himself a dreamer.
Wayde van Niekerk is a South African athlete: track and field athlete who competes in the 200 and 400 meters race. Moreover, he is also the first South African world sprint champion.
With several prestigious titles, the athlete has brought immense joy and pride to his country. However, even after the heights of success he has attained, he doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
Wayde is the current Olympian and world record holder for 400 meters and the world’s best time-holder for 300 meters. Moreover, the athlete is also the 2-times gold medalist for African Championship and 1-time silver medalist for World Championship.
As a world-class athlete, his fans are constantly updated about his accomplishments and successful endeavors, so it is liable for us to think that not many of his fans may know his personal life and family.
Hence, here we bring you some interesting and unknown facts about the athlete.
Wayde van Niekerk: Quick Facts
|Full Name||Wayde van Niekerk|
|Common Name||Wayde van Niekerk|
|Birthdate||15 July 1992|
|Age||29 Years Old|
|Mother’s Name||Odessa Swarts|
|Father’s Name||Wayne van Niekerk|
|Siblings||a brother, and a sister|
|Birthplace||Kraaifontein, Western Cape, South Africa|
|Residence||Bloemfontein, South Africa|
|School||Bellville Primary, Simonberg Primary|
|College||The University of Free State|
|Education||Bachelors in Marketing|
|Height||183 cm (6 feet)|
|Weight||70 kg (154 lb)|
|Partner||Chesney Van Niekerk née Campbell|
|Married||October 29, 2017|
|Sport||Track and Field, Event- Sprints|
|Debut||2010 World Junior Championships (International)|
|Olympics Wins||1 Gold|
|World Championships||2 Gold|
|Current Club||South Africa, Adidas|
|Current Coach||Lance Brauman|
|Past Coach||Tannie Anna Botha|
|Net Worth||$3 million|
|Affiliated Brands||Adidas, Richard Mille, Audi|
|Social Media||Instagram, Facebook, Twitter|
|Merch||Road to Glory|
Wayde van Niekerk: Family and Early Life
Wayde van Niekerk is 29 years of age. He celebrates his birthday on 15th July.
The athlete was born to Odessa Swarts and Wayne van Niekerk, but his birth had not been easy. Wayde was born prematurely at 29 weeks and weighed just 1.9 kg.
Odessa recalls the doctors telling her he wouldn’t survive as the newborn baby was only skin and bones. However, Wayde was born a fighter, and he survived through it to make history in the future.
After that, he spent 12 years of his early life in Cape Town, but due to his parent’s separation, he left for Bloemfontein with his mother. His mother then remarried Steven Swarts.
Growing up, Wayde had always been an athletic child, thanks to his amazing genes. Both his father and mother were incredible athletes back in the day.
His father was also a sprinter and did both high jump and rugby. Likewise, his mother too sprinted and did high jump before she had to stop due to her pregnancy.
Moreover, he is also a far cousin to Cheslin Kolbe, the famous South African rugby league player. Similarly, his aunt and godmother, Alnisha van Niekerk, was also a high jumper.
Wayde van Niekerk: Education
Living in Cape Town, Wayde van Niekerk studied at Simonsberg Primary School, where he tapped the surface of his great athletic abilities.
He had taken part in his first race and also played rugby with his cousin. The two amazing athletes used to play for the same team, and the teacher used to reward the duo pocket money for every try they scored.
Following his parents’ separation, he moved to Bloemfontein, where he studied at Bellville Primary school. Later, he was offered a scholarship to the prestigious Grey College High School for his great athletic abilities.
Wayde then enrolled in the University of Free State in 2012, where he met his former coach, Tannie Anna Botha.
She had been instrumental in Wayde’s decision to specialize in one lap sprint as he formerly wanted to be a high jumper and sprinted in 100m-200m race only. So it was after joining Tannie Anna Botha; he began running 400 meters.
Better known as Ans Botha, his former coach was an athletics coach in her mid-70s. It was her who greatly helped to develop Wayde’s career with fierce training and encouragement.
Talking about his education, Wayde van Niekerk got a marketing degree from the university.
Wayde van Niekerk: Career
Wayde van Niekerk’s career in athletics started when he first joined the school. His parents foresaw his bright future when he ran his first race.
Growing up in a family with rich athletic roots, Wayde always dreamed of continuing his parents’ legacy, and he was also granted the gift of great athletic ability.
The athlete made his international debut at the 2020 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He was placed fourth in 200 meters race and thus began realizing his own potential.
Following that, his breakthrough came when he earned the gold in 200 meters at the 2011 South African Athletics Championships. Moreover, in 2012, his talent for 400 meters began showing.
His newly found talent soon began forging his career as he set new personal and world records after that. In addition, Wayde won in the 2015 World Championships 400 meters race.
A truly historic moment was when he brought gold for his country in the 2016 Olympic Games men’s 400 meters with a new record time of 43.03 seconds at 24 years and 30 days.
He had beaten the record of Micheal Johnson, 43.18 seconds, set in the 1999 World Championship in Athletics.
Wayde found his fortune in the 400m, but the irony is that he hates the event.
Moreover, in 2016, the athlete also became the first to run 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters under 10 seconds, 20 seconds, and 44 seconds respectively.
Similarly, Wayde is the only athlete to run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31, and sub-44 performances at 100m, 200m, 300m, and 400m, respectively.
Wayde van Niekerk: Knee Injury
Wayde van Niekerk faced a major setback in his career after he sustained a severe knee injury during a celebrity touch rugby game.
The athlete was at the top of his game back then; he had made world records, married his lover, and was even acknowledged by Usain Bolt, the world-famous runner known as the fastest man on the planet, as his heir apparent.
Unfortunately, the knee injury had him off the track from the 2018 Commonwealth games, and he had to spend six months in rehabilitation.
He sustained medial and lateral tears of the meniscus and tore his anterior cruciate ligament, but he suffered more mentally than physically, according to the athlete himself.
Furthermore, Wayde also revealed that few amazing athletes who sustained unfortunate major injuries reached out to him, talked, and motivated him.
Wayde van Niekerk: Comeback
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Wayde van Niekerk had broken the world record that Micheal Johnson had set for 17 years, despite being placed in the eight-lane, which is known as the most difficult and outermost lane.
After sustaining that sort of injury, he, like many others, was doubtful, but fortunately, he never lost hope. On the contrary, he disclosed that he had come to peace with everything that happened and is ready to be back stronger than ever.