Wayde van Niekerk opened his 2022 season at the Saturday Stars and Stripes Classic 2022, American Track League meeting in Marietta, Georgia. The World record holder cocked 44.58 seconds to win the men's 400m.
The South African, who was plagued by different injuries since winning Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 and the World title in 2017, was scheduled to race the 200m in Italy in June but dropped out of the race.
Van Niekerk went out of the block explosively, and after the 200m, he pulled away from the field to win the race very comfortably in 44.58.
"The plan was to try and execute my race as comfortably as possible coming off of consecutive niggles and injuries," 400m World record holder Van Niekerk told ESPN after the race.
"I tried to keep it as smooth as possible for as long as I could, but as you know as you get to the home-straight you have to pick it up a bit and finish strong so it gave me a reason to fight to the finish line and I am quite satisfied with the results," he added.
Rusheen McDonald of Jamaica came in second place with 45.43 seconds, beating his compatriot Demish Gaye, who clocked 45.47 for third place.
Van Niekerk, who is planning to compete at this month's World Athletics Championships in Oregon, moved to 13th place on the 2022 season list, led by USA's Michael Norman with 43.56 seconds.
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