Van Niekerk wins 400m in world record time


Wayde van Niekerk upstaged his more fancied rivals with a truly sensational performance to win gold and break the world record in the men's 400 metres at the Rio Olympics.

The South African left pre-race favourites Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt in his wake, triumphing in a stunning time of 43.03 seconds on Sunday.

In doing so, he shattered Michael Johnson's world record of 43.18secs, set by the American in August 1999.

Starting from lane eight, Van Niekerk surged in front and simply left James and Merritt behind to win comfortably.

James, the champion at London 2012, ran faster in Rio than he did four years ago, but finished 0.73secs behind as Van Niekerk took almost half a second off his personal best.

The top three all ran sub-44 times, Beijing gold medallist Merritt taking bronze.

Johnson, once dubbed the world's fastest man, set his mark at the 1999 World Championships in Seville.