Wayde van Niekerk. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/GRANT PITCHER
Wayde van Niekerk. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/GRANT PITCHER

SOUTH African sprinting sensation Wayde van Niekerk has made sprinting history by becoming the first man in history to run the 100m in under 10 seconds‚ the 200m in under 20 seconds and the 400m in under 44 seconds‚ the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has confirmed on its website.

On Saturday‚ Van Niekerk clocked 9.98 seconds in Bloemfontein to qualify for the 100m sprint at the Olympics.

"The 23-year-old hasn’t competed in a 100m race since his junior days‚ so his previous PB (personal best) of 10.45 — also set in Bloemfontein back in 2011 — was due for serious revision. But he surprised almost everyone‚ himself included‚ with his performance on Saturday.

"After clocking a PB of 10.12 into a -1.9m/s headwind in the heats‚ the breeze changed direction for the final. Aided by a 1.5m/s following wind — and with a little bit of assistance from Bloemfontein’s altitude — Van Niekerk won the final in 9.98‚" the IAAF said.

Van Niekerk who normally competes in the 200m and 400m‚ the latter in which he is the reigning world champion‚ holds personal bests of 19.94 seconds and 43.48 seconds for the distances‚ respectively.

He has held South African records for both but currently only holds the record for the 400m event. He is the first athlete from Africa to run the 400m in under 44 seconds.

Van Niekerk was the silver medallist in the 400m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and took bronze in the 4×400 metres relay at the 2013 Summer Universiade. He also represented SA at the 2013 and 2015 Athletics World Championships‚ winning a gold medal in the 400m in the latter event.

TeamSouthAfrica (@teamsa16) tweeted on Saturday: "Congrats to 400m specialist @WaydeDreamer who clocked 9.98 in Bloemfontein today to qualify for the 100m sprint at the Olympics #TeamSArise."

Chesney (@Neshney) tweeted: "@UFSweb student @WaydeDreamer made history today! First athlete EVER to run a sub 10‚ sub 20 and sub 44 and 5th best sprinter of all time!"

Van Niekerk posted the following tweet: "Hahaha wow it’s crazy ... I’m so grateful."

TMG Digital