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Wayde van Niekerk sets world-leading 400m time in Lausanne

Published:Thursday | July 6, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Wayde van Niekerk from South Africa celebrates after winning the men's 400m race at the Athletissima IAAF Diamond League international athletics meeting in the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday. – AP

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP):
Olympic 400-meter champion Wayde van Niekerk ran a world-leading time of 43.62 seconds on Thursday in his first major race at his favored distance since the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Van Niekerk chose the Athletissima meeting in the Diamond League series for his first 400 race outside his native South Africa this year, and his first anywhere since April.

On a warm, still evening in Lausanne, the 24-year-old Van Niekerk added the 400 to the world-leading times he also holds in the 200 and 300.

"I didn't come with a specific time in mind, but I am pleased with this result," said Van Niekerk, who is favored to retain his world title in London next month.

Van Niekerk was 0.07 faster than the previous best 400 this season set by Fred Kerley of the United States. He set a world record of 43.03 in taking Olympic gold last August.