Sport Athletics Star South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk in virus positive

Star South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk in virus positive

South African 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk has tested positive for coronavirus. Photo: AAP
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South Africa’s Olympic 400 metres champion Wayde van Niekerk tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy last week, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

Van Niekerk, who romped to Olympic gold four years ago in a world record time of 43.03 seconds, was set to participate in a meet in Trieste – his first competition outside of South Africa since 2017 following a serious knee injury.

“I don’t know how it’s possible,” the 28-year-old’s manager Peet Van Zyl told the publication.

“Wayde has been training for the whole week and never had any symptom, not even after testing positive.

“He hasn’t had a fever.”

Van Niekerk, who tore his right anterior cruciate ligament while playing a charity touch rugby game in 2017 to leave his career in doubt, began his comeback in February.

The timing is unfortunate, with the lucrative six-meeting Diamond League set to resume in a fortnight.

The rescheduled Diamond League resumes at Monaco on August 14, before Stockholm, Lausanne, Brussels and Rome, and concluding at Doha on October 9.