Sun Sep 24 07:14:27 SAST 2017

South African golden boy Van Niekerk overwhelmed after receiving hero's welcome back home

By Mninawa Ntloko | 2016-09-07 14:50:00.0

Members of the public as well as school kids came out to give a hero's welcome to Wayde van Niekerk. Wayde van Niekerk, a South African athlete,  who broke the 400m world record at the 2016 Rio Olympic games was presented with an Audi R8 on his arrival at OR Tambo International airport Wednesday.The 24-year-old will be loaned a V10 Plus model for one year according to Audi South Africa. Van Niekerk was named as an Audi Sport Ambassadors ahead of the Games earlier in August. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY/

South African golden boy Wayde van Niekerk returned to SA to a hero's welcome almost a month after winning the 400m gold medal and breaking the world record at the Rio Olympic Games.

Van Niekerk said he was overwhelmed when he arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday morning to find ecstatic South Africans waiting to welcome him back home.

Van was also presented with a cheque for R1million by his sponsors T-Systems‚ who agreed before the Games that they would pay the amount if he broke the world record at the global showpiece.

The athlete dedicated his achievements to his 74-year-old coach Ans Botha‚ and he said she deserved all the credit for moulding him into the world class athlete he is today.

"I literally leave all my trust in her hands‚" he said.

"I give her all the credit for all the sacrifices."

Van Niekerk won SA's first gold medal at the Olympic Games last month and he did it in fine style by breaking legendary US athlete Michael Johnson's long-standing 17-year-old 400m record.

The South African crossed the finish line in a breathtaking 43:03 seconds‚ bettering Johnson's old mark of 43:18 seconds. - TMG Digital