The return of South African Wayde van Niekerk to competitive track action has been further delayed after the world record holder revealed he will not be in Doha, Qatar, to defend his 400m world title at the World Athletics Championships later this month.
Van Niekerk and his management team have, however, expressed strong optimism about a future comeback for the 27-year-old:
“I’m so positive and just taking things day by day, respecting my body and when the opportunity comes, I’ll take it! No rush. Thanks so much for all your support!”
Van Niekerk has been out of action since picking up medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, as well as a torn anterior cruciate ligament in late 2017 during a celebrity touch rugby match. He missed the whole of the 2018 season, including the Commonwealth Games in Australia, in order to focus on recovery and rehabilitation.
The South African had returned to training after undergoing surgery but suffered a minor setback when he picked up a bone bruise last July.
Wayde van Niekerk has not raced competitively since the last World Athletics Championships in August 2017, where he won the 400m in 43.98sec and claimed a silver medal in the 200m.
He was aiming for a third consecutive world title in Qatar after being given a wildcard for the event.