The 31-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday, will certainly need to pull back 44 seconds to win in Hungary next month – and he threatens to get there. He had not been in that area for nearly six years.
“Things are moving in a positive direction,” Van Niekerk said. “It’s my fastest race in seven years and the 44.0 shows that 43 seconds is possible. The competition in my event is getting tougher so I need to work to get better as well.”
Marioni Faury finished last in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, but her 12.73 was the second fastest of her career.
In fact, it was the second fastest time by any South African, second only to the national record of 12.55 set by Furey two weeks earlier.
Fauri may have looked slow in the race won by Nigerian Toby Amusan in 12.34, but she showed excellent composure throughout her race, despite hitting some barriers and touching American Tia Jones in the race.
US resident Adriaan Wildschutt on Saturday smashed more than two seconds off Elroy Gelant’s record in the SA 5000m as he finished second in the league race in 13 minutes 02.46 seconds in the Belgian town of Heusden-Zolder.
The previous mark of 13:04.88 was set in Hengelo in 2016.
Wildschutt’s efforts ensured his qualification for the World Championships in Budapest next month as well as the Paris Olympics next year.
The time also moved him up to 25th on the world list for 2023 so far, with Ethiopia’s Berehu Aregawi topping him with a time of 12:40.45.