SA SPRINT STARS WELCOMED HOME

 
Updated: September 7, 2016

Wayde van Niekerk (left) and Akani Simbine, seen here at the African Championships in Durban in April, arrived home from the international campaign on Wednesday (photo credit: sportsdaily.co.za)


Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk and 100m finalist Akani Simbine arrived home to a festive gathering of fans, family, friends and officials at OR Tambo International on Wednesday.

Van Niekerk and Simbine had spent some time in Europe after the Rio Games and were welcomed home by hundreds of supporters.

“It’s the best. I’m really thankful for the amazing support I get all round,” said Van Niekerk, who won the Olympic title last month in a new world record (43.03).

“It’s something I really cherish and use as motivation to keep moving forward.”

Van Niekerk, who received a new R8 sports car from Audi and a R1 million cheque from T-Systems on his arrival home, and Simbine, who finished fifth in the short sprint final in Rio, said they would take a break now in the off-season and start planning for the 2017 campaign, which includes the IAAF World Championships in London.

“I’m going to take a rest, chill a bit and go back to school (varsity) before I start training again,” said Simbine, the national 100m record holder (9.89).

The international track and field season will come to a close with the Diamond League final in Brussels on Friday night.

Caster Semenya, who goes in the women’s 400m dash, headlines the SA charge, backed by Carina Horn in the women’s 100m sprint, Wenda Nel in the 400m hurdles and Luvo Manyonga in the men’s long jump.