Athletics: Wayde van Niekerk ends successful Qatar rehabilitation

Van Niekerk (above) was injured while playing in a touch rugby match in Cape Town.
Van Niekerk (above) was injured while playing in a touch rugby match in Cape Town.PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - World athletics star Wayde van Niekerk has returned to South Africa after a successful one-month rehabilitation programme in Qatar for a knee ligament tear sustained last October.

"The services I received (in Qatar) were world class and I am feeling very positive about my recovery," he said in a statement released on Wednesday (Jan 3). The Olympic and world 400m champion was injured while playing in a touch rugby match in Cape Town, one of several curtain-raisers to a South Africa-New Zealand Test.

He underwent surgery in the United States soon after and the visit to Qatar was planned then as part of his rehabilitation schedule.

No definite track comeback date has been set by the 25-year-old, but he will miss the Commonwealth Games on the Australian Gold Coast in April.

He said the 2019 Athletics World Championships in Qatar would be a "great starting point" for him.

"I think Doha would be a great starting point for me to get back and gain my confidence as an athlete and continue to dominate in every event I do," he added.

The South African is the only athlete to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in less than 20 seconds and the 400m in under 44 seconds.

He is also the world record holder in the 400m and the rarely-run 300m.