Wayde van Niekerk downs Akani Simbine in Madrid 200m showdown

Wayde van Niekerk in action at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium in 2021.
Wayde van Niekerk in action at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium in 2021.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Wayde van Niekerk out-sprinted Akani Simbine as he won their 200m duel in Madrid in a 20.29 season’s best.

That was Van Niekerk’s fastest time over the half-lap since injuring his right knee in 2017 and suggests he is moving in the right direction to unlock the speed he’ll need for the 400m at the Paris Olympics, which kicks off on July 27.

Van Niekerk was using the 200m to improve his speed work, but he’ll need to pick up the pace — he went 20.31 at the national championships in Pietermaritzburg in April.

Simbine, who crossed the line second in 20.38, used the 200m to work on his endurance for the latter part of the 200m. His effort was marginally slower than the 20.32 he clocked in Johannesburg in March.

Van Niekerk now leads Simbine 6-1 in 200m races since they first went head to head as juniors in 2011. 

Zakithi Nene faded on the home straight to finish third in the men’s 400m, crossing the line in 45.20 behind Elian Larregina of Argentina (44.93) and Dutchman Liemarvin Bonevacia (45.07).

He had looked strong up until then, having gone off with his usual fast start, but was unable to fend off the challenge over the final quarter of the race.


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