Wayde van Niekerk gets his wish as world championships schedule changed
The 200m first rounds at August’s world track and field championships have been moved one day earlier to accommodate requests from Olympic 400m champions Wayde van Niekerk and Shaunae Miller‘s federations.
Both Van Niekerk and Miller have said they hope to race both the 200m and 400m at worlds in London. Van Niekerk specifically requested the schedule be changed to allow more time between the races but said it wasn’t a requirement for him to attempt the double.
The original schedule had the men’s and women’s 200m first rounds and 400m finals during the same afternoon, separated by about 2 1/2 hours each.
Now, the 200m first rounds will take place on the day between the 400m semifinals and final.
It’s unknown if American Allyson Felix has eyes on contesting both the 200m and 400m at worlds. Felix had those aspirations one year ago -- the Olympic schedule was similarly modified at her request -- but she missed the U.S. team in the 200m by .01 at the Olympic Trials, slowed by an ankle injury.
Even with the absence of Usain Bolt, the 400m world-record holder Van Niekerk could be an underdog in the 200m at worlds. His personal best -- 19.94 seconds -- would have ranked No. 9 in the world last year.
Miller’s best in the 200m -- 22.05 -- ranked No. 5 in the world in 2016 behind Olympic medalists Elaine Thompson, Dafne Schippers and Tori Bowie and Felix.
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