Photo: World record holder Wade Van Niekerk has tested positive for the Covid-19 (Getty images)
While the track and field world, like many other sports, has been devastated by the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic is causing globally, the South African Athletics fans were greeted with news that their own Wade Van Niekerk has tested positive for the virus.
News came via the Insidebuzz magazine that 400 metre world record holder returned the positive test while at his training base in Gemona Italy. Italy in one of the countries worst hit by Covid-19 with a vast number of its older population succumbing to the virus.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and World Athletics approved guidelines, he will have to be quarantined until he is cleared of the virus.
Van Niekerk only returned to competition this year after being sidelined by injury for an extended period of time. He was eagerly waiting to chance improve on his 400m debut time of 47.42 back in February but will now miss an athletics meeting in that country where reports suggest he would have done both the 100m and 400m.
The reigning Olympic champion was in training with fellow athletes, South African long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and 110 hurdler Antonio Alkana. They also had in their company coaches Tannie Ans Botha and Jenny Kingwill who had travelled with them to Italy.
None of them however have reportedly tested positive for the virus.
Van Niekerk holds the distinction as the only male track athlete in history to run under 10 seconds in the 100m, under 20 seconds in the 200m and under 44 seconds in the 400m.