Wayde van Niekerk pays tribute to his coach, Ans Botha

His golden win with the help of his coach, Ans Botha, has captured global headlines.

South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk competes in the Men’s 400m Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on 14 August, 2016. Picture: AFP.

RIO DE JANIERO - Wayde van Niekerk has paid tribute to his coach Ans Botha for his success at the Rio Olympic Games, describing her as the driving force behind his victory.

He became the first South African sprinter, since 1920, to capture and Olympic gold last night as he won gold in Rio in a world record 43.03 seconds.

The dominant nature of his win was the main talking point of the night at the Olympic Stadium despite the fact that Usain Bolt won his third 100m title in a row.

While van Niekerk is capturing global headlines, it's the outstanding work of his coach the 74-year-old Botha that's also gaining global recognition.

Tannie Ans, as she is affectionately known, a great grandmother of four, currently runs van Niekerk's programme at the University of the Free and has built on the success at the world championships with this latest stunning result at the Olympic Games.

The athlete paid tribute to her as did 100m sprinter Akani Simbine, who has spent significant time with her over the course of the last three years saying the care she had for athletes allowed them to thrive on the very biggest stage.

That was borne out in some style last night in Rio de Janeiro as van Niekerk captured the imagination including that of the biggest star of them all, Bolt.

'I CAN GO FASTER'

The 400 metre Olympic gold medallist and world record holder has warned competitors he can go even faster.

The South African sprinter broke American Michael Johnson's 17-year record and is confident he can break the 43 second barrier.

WAYDE'S PAIN BEFORE THE GAIN

At the same time, van Niekerk has revealed he struggled with some discomfort during his 400 meter heat and semi-final.

He showed no signs of it in the final, which saw him win gold and break a 17-year-old world record in the process.

It's team SA's first gold of the Rio games.

Van Niekerk says it hasn't been smooth sailing for him.

"For both the heat and the semi-finals, as I hit the 200m, I felt a bit of a niggle in my hamstring. When I got the finals, I hit the 200m expecting that feeling again, and I felt nothing - I tried to push even harder and harder.

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