Home > The Scene

Olympic 400m champion tears ACL during celebrity rugby match

Wayde Van Niekerk is expected to miss at least six months of athletics after sustaining multiple injuries in a celebrity rugby touch match

Wayde Van Niekerk


The reigning world and Olympic champion over 400m is out of the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to injury.

Wayde Van Niekerk, the world record holder in the 400m, “picked up medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, as well as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), while participating in a recent celebrity touch rugby match in Cape Town,” according to the South African’s management team. The injuries are expected to keep Van Niekerk out of commission for at least six months, which rules him out for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia next April.

The Commonwealth Games is the biggest outdoor event for Canadian track and field athletes in 2018 as it’s an off year for both the Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships.

The 400m star, who also races the 200m, is set to undergo surgery in Vail, Colo following the Oct. 7 injury. According to his management team, he is expected to continue rehabilitation in the Qatar and South Africa. “I’m ready for the hard work,” he captioned an Instagram post on Tuesday.


Van Niekerk, whose world record in the 400m is 43.03, was expected to race the 100m and 200m in the Gold Coast as he moves down in distance from the one-lap event.