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Wayde van Niekerk dominates world 400m marred by pre-race controversy

The rundown from the IAAF World Championships men's 400m as Wayde Van Niekerk coasts the final 10m and still dominates the field

Wayde Van Niekerk

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On Tuesday, it was perhaps more of a story of who wasn’t running than who was at the IAAF World Championships in the men’s 400m.

Pre-race favourite Wayde van Niekerk dominated the one-lap sprint in London, easing up at the line and still winning by nearly half a second, in 43.98, over Bahamian Steven Gardiner. Qatar’s Abdalelah Haroun rounded out the top-three as van Niekerk, who is trained by a great grandmother, was never really challenged during the 400m. He will run the 200m semifinals on Aug. 9 in an attempt to qualify for the final and complete the 200m-400m double.

The South African defended his IAAF World Championships title after winning in Beijing in 2015. Since then, he has become an Olympic champion and in the process, taken down Michael Johnson’s long-standing world record, which he did in Rio running 43.03.

Botswana’s Isaac Makwala was notably absent in the men’s 400m final. He qualified for the final but was a DNS – did not start.

Makwala, the primary challenger to van Niekerk and the only athlete to have pushed the South African to the line in a race this year, didn’t take to the start line after he was withdrawn from the men’s 200m heats on Monday due to illness, believed to be a norovirus. The IAAF then withdrew him from the 400m finals, in both instances because of a “medical condition.” However, Makwala posted on Facebook on Tuesday that no tests were conducted. When he arrived to the athletes village at the track, he was escorted to the IAAF office.

His most recent Facebook post can be found below.

According to local sports producer Dan Salisbury-Jones, his accreditation was no longer valid to even enter the stadium. Earlier in 2017, Makwala became the only person in history to run sub-44 in the 400m and sub-20 in the 200m on the same day.

According to an IAAF statement, “as per UK health regulations, it was requested that he be quarantined in his room for 48 hours.”

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According to BBC News, Public Health England says “30 athletes and support staff have been affected by sickness at the Tower Hotel in London.” Eric Gillis dropped out of the marathon after tweeting that he had been affected by Norwalk, which causes viral gastroenteritis.

IAAF video on the subject

Makwala blocked from accessing the stadium on Tuesday


1 1282 Wayde VAN NIEKERK RSARSA 43.98 0.157
2 667 Steven GARDINER BAHBAH 44.41 0.188
3 1266 Abdalelah HAROUN QATQAT 44.48 SB 0.190
4 712 Baboloki THEBE BOTBOT 44.66 0.182
5 1071 Nathon ALLEN JAMJAM 44.88 0.158
6 1084 Demish GAYE JAMJAM 45.04 0.179
7 1413 Fred KERLEY USAUSA 45.23 0.142