Wayde van Niekerk praises God after smashing 400m record

wade van niekerk
South African Olympic gold medalist and 400m world record-holder praises God moments after his spectacular victory in Rio early this morning (SA time). (PHOTO: BBC Sport screenshot)

“The only thing I can do now is to give God praise,” said Wayde van Niekerk moments after winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics and breaking Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old 400m record in a time of 43.03 seconds.

“I went on my knees each and every day and I told the Lord to take care of me every step of the way — I even wrote it down on my spikes,” said the 24-year-old South African in a track-side television interview with BBC Sport in which he held up his running shoes to show the words “Jesus I am all yours, use me”.

Wayde van Niekerk holds up his spikes to show the words he has written on them: “Jesus I am all yours, use me”. (PHOTO: BBC Sport screenshot)

“I asked the Lord to carry me through the race and I’m really, really blessed and grateful for this opportunity,” said the former Grey College student who commentators  — including Michael Johnson — immediately began speculating could become the next big athletics star when Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt retires.

Bolt, who is also a vocal Jesus-follower, congratulated Van Niekerk on the side of the track and 20 minutes later went on to make history as he won his third, successive 100m Olympic title. The two will not compete at Rio as Van Niekerk, despite being the South African champion at 200m, elected not to enter that race in his first Olympics.

At the start of the 400m, most eyes were on American Lashawn Merritt and the defending Olympic champion Kirani James whose performances in the heats outshone Van Niekerk’s. But he streaked ahead of the field and James took the silver medal with a season’s best 43.76 seconds while Merritt hung onto third at 43.85seconds.

Wayde van Niekerk’s coach, Ans Botha, 74, celebrates his world record win this morning.

Van Niekerk’s highly respected 74-year-old coach, Ans Botha, also attracted media attention at the stadium with her exuberant reaction to his victory. Botha, who has been coaching athletics since 1960 has been working with Van Niekerk for three years.

Van Niekerk, who was the flag bearer for South Africa at the Games’ opening ceremony, has flown 10 members of his family to Rio to watch him compete, including his girlfriend Chesney Campbell, 24, his grandparents and parents, Odessa and Wayne.


  1. Great! Dankie Jesus! Seën hulle meer

  2. Veronica Nirseorthy is

    Truly amazing. What a testimony. Trusting that millions of youth maybe encouraged.

  3. What a mighty God we serve!!! Thumbs up to Wayde for giving God all the glory in front of 1000’s of spectators!!!

  4. I can do all things through Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Blessing,honor,glory and power be yours forever and ever.
    Truely an amazing testimony for God.

  5. Now I see where that magnificent performance came from. Glory to God. Keep trusting God.

  6. Wonderful! I’ll be sharing his testimony at church this Sunday.

  7. siphiwo Bruce mkele

    God is so so so Faithful wth his wnderous ways he shows

  8. What an amazing testimony… Glory be to our Almighty God whose decision truely leaves us wordless. Jesus and me for life !

  9. Well done Wayde…You really did it I’m so proud of you I salute you and you are my new role model…Someone who is real who work hard for succes????

  10. Desiree Petersen

    What a testimony what a awesome young man that knows where his strength comes from. You are a true inspiration Wayde keep on trusting God for even greater things .You leave me speechless , to God be all the glory.

  11. Wayde how refreshing to hear of your faith in God. You can’t do better than to keep close to God and stay in the Word to keep your life on track.

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