Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Rudisha, Van Niekerk to join Bolt at JN Racers Grand Prix

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 10:15 AMAndre Lowe
Usain Bolt (left) and Van Niekerk (right) during a training session in Jamaica in 2016.
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Andre Lowe, Sports Editor 

David Rudisha, world record holder in the 800m and 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk will join 100m and 200m world record holder Usain Bolt as headliners for this year's JN Racers Grand Prix. 

Kenyan star Rudisha, a two-time Olympic and world champion in the two-lap event holds the current mark after his 1:40.91 run on his way to winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Rudisha also won gold at the Rio 2016 Games as well as gold medals at the Beijing and Daegu World Championships in 2015 and 2011 respectively. 

World champion Van Niekerk produced what is regarded by many as the best athletics performance at last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after a record-breaking 43.03 run in the 400m final and will be making his second trip to the island for the meet as part of a South African group that also includes fast-rising sprinter Akani Simbine, a 100m finalist in Rio. 

Simbine has already gone sub-10 seconds and sub-20 seconds this season with efforts of 9.93 and 19.95in the 100m and 200m recently. In fact, both times were registered on the same day at a South African meet. 

Rudisha and Van Niekerk will join Bolt as the main draw for a meet that has already established itself as a leading event in the region. 

This year's JN Racers Grand Prix, which is set for the National Stadium on June 10, will be used to celebrate the career of the retiring Bolt with several features, such as a farewell 100m set to be announced by organisers today. 

A number of other top named athletes are also expected to be confirmed but local stars such as Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell, Warren Weir and Kemar Bailey-Cole are said to be among those already booked. 

Meet organiser and president and head coach of the Racers Track Club Glen Mills a few weeks ago underlined plans to focus on a wider range of top level competitors at the meet.

"We have a wider span of stars in events that were not previously, and we have the top stars in the world, record holders, world championship ... those events, even (jumpers) coming to participate in the triple jump," Mills outlined at a recent meeting.