Van Niekerk Storms to Victory in ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI finale

Wayde van Niekerk, 400m Olympic champion and world record holder (44) won the much talked-about 200m sprint of the 2nd leg of the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI on Tuesday 30 March 2021 at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium, Johannesburg. Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine (4th from left) finished 2nd, while Free State’s Tsebo Matsoso rounded off the top 3. Photo Credit: David Tarpey 

Wayde van Niekerk delivered in style on Tuesday, rocketing to victory in the men’s 200m race at the ASA Athletix Invitational powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium in Roodepoort, Johannesburg.

Van Niekerk crossed the line in 20.10 (albeit with a +2.1m/s tailwind), holding off a challenge from national 100m record holder Akani Simbine, who took second place in 20.29 in wet and windy conditions. Tsebo Matsoso (SA) finished third stopping the clock at 20.48.

“This definitely gave me confidence I didn’t have before,” said Van Niekerk, the 400m world record holder, who clocked a season’s best. “It’s one thing training well, but it’s a different thing executing it against such a quality line-up, guys I have the world of respect for.”

Though he was edged out by his close friend and rival, Simbine was also pleased with his result.

“I just ran a terrible bend, but other than that I’m happy with the race,” said Simbine, who had won the 100m race in the first leg at Ruimsig the week before.

Gold medallist at the 2017 World U18 Championships and the 2018 World U20 Championships, Sokwakhana Zazini flaunted his form when winning the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.13, while Wenda Nel held off a fight from Taylon Bieldt to take the women’s 400m hurdles race in 56.16.

Teenager Renier de Villiers secured victory in the men’s 800m race in 1:46.83, Namibian junior athlete Beatrice Masilingi won the women’s 200m sprint in 22.59 (+3.9) and Charona Bakker of the Netherlands coasted home in 13.46 in the women’s 100m hurdles.

In the field, Werner Visser dominated the men’s discus throw with a 60.88m heave and former U-20 World Championships medallist Johann Grobler won the men’s javelin throw with a best attempt of 78.84m.

“It was another wonderfull competition day for our track and field athletes despite the downpour of rain at the tail of the programme,” said Aleck Skhosana the President of ASA. “We are particularly happiest that we were able to offer several athletes in both South Africa and from our neighbouring countries a chance to either seek qualifications or improve and test their level of performance.

“This was a great return to athletics for ASA despite the challenges that the corona virus has caused throughout the country and the world. We are encouraged to have witnessed that some of the athletes are at an advanced level of preparation. We are extremely happy with the success of this event, our first since a lockdown was declared by the national government a year ago.”

Kyle Whitehill, CEO of Avanti Communications said: “Congratulations to all the athletes on some terrific performances. It’s been an honour to support the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet as competitive athletics finally returned to South Africa. We’ve really enjoyed being part of these two historic meets.” 

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About Athletics South Africa:

Athletics South Africa (ASA) is the national governing body for the sport of athletics (including Track and FieldCross CountryRoad Running and Race Walking) in South Africa, is a member of the  IAAF and  the Confederation of African Athletics.  The association is based in Johannesburg.

About Avanti Communications:

Avanti Communications is the leading Ka-band high throughput satellite capacity partner to the communications industry in EMEA – extending and guaranteeing coverage for defence missions, enterprise solutions and critical public services. 

Through the HYLAS satellite fleet and partners in 118 countries, Avanti provides dedicated fixed and flexible-beam satellite connectivity, with extensive coverage across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.