Wayde van Niekerk cleared to train after Covid-19 scare in Italy

Wayde van Niekerk during the 2020 Free State Track and Field Championships.
Wayde van Niekerk during the 2020 Free State Track and Field Championships.
Image: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Wayde van Niekerk is ready to return to training after nearly a month of isolation in Italy following a Covid-19 scare.

His planned comeback at the beginning of August was delayed after he returned a positive test for Covid-19.

Van Niekerk had a subsequent test which came back negative before the meet‚ but protocol prevented him from racing in what would have been his first 400m abroad since 2017.

“Van Niekerk has since received inconsistent results‚ apparently due to antibodies in his system‚ though he has been asymptomatic throughout the process‚” read a statement from his team management.

“He has now been cleared to return to the track by Dr Patrizio Sarto at the Medical Sports Institute in Treviso‚ after two successive negative Covid-19 tests were returned‚ in line with local health and safety guidelines.”

The rest of the team that is based in Gemona‚ including his coach tannie Ans Botha‚ have consistently tested negative.

But it’s not clear when Van Niekerk will race again.

“At this state we cannot predict when he will be back in top shape as Wayde was in isolation for 25 days‚ so he has lost a lot of training on the track‚ which is crucial before his first race back‚” said his agent‚ Peet van Zyl.

“Tannie Ans will use the medical information from the doctor to assess what level he is at‚ and then build his fitness to where it was before he was placed in isolation.”

Van Niekerk as yet to make a fully fledged comeback to racing since injuring his right knee in 2017.

He underwent extensive surgery‚ and has taken part in only a few races in Bloemfontein in 2019 and 2020.