Wayde van Niekerk still can’t believe he is the 400m world record holder.
The Kraaifontein-born superstar’s earth-shattering run at the Rio Olympics a fortnight ago saw him set a new global mark of 43.03 seconds.
Van Niekerk still describes the race in which he shattered Michael Johnson’s previous record from 1999, from lane eight, as an out-of-body experience.
The 24-year-old says: “It is still a bit unreal, I was watching the Lausanne 400 metre and it was my name there next to the world record.
“It is something I still need to accept, and come to realise it is actually me and it is there to stay.”
Going into he Games, Van Niekerk had already made history as the first man to run a sub-10 in the 100m, sub-20 in the 200m, and a sub-44 in the one-lap sprint.
Although a sub-43 was in his mind since last year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing, some doubt had crept into is mind this year.
It is difficult to believe the man that nearly became the first athlete ever to dip below 43 seconds in the 400m could have any doubts ahead of the race.
He adds: “Funny enough it was a goal for me since last year just dream of it and thinking a 42 would be nice but in that moment you are so focussed where you really don’t care about times or anything but that gold.
“To me I was literally just fighting to get over the finish line first so that I can get a gold medal, so once I crossed the finish line and looked up at the times that was just a pure blessing.”
“For a long time I was battling with my 400 metre fitness this year, and I wasn’t sure where I was laying and even in Rio I was battling.
“But everything came so amazingly right and I am still puzzled about how that happened but I am so grateful for what happened.”
Once Wayde hit full speed the soft-spoken ace made the world sit up but also finally instilled the belief in Van Niekerk he can dare to give his dreams more wings.
The Bloem-based ace: “It has given me so much more motivation that I’ve had so much doubt in my head this year but I still achieved and it just showed me what I am capable of doing in the future.
“I just got a feeling of this is only the beginning, this is just the kickoff for me, I am 24 years old and I’ve achieved so much already.
“I feel so motivated and inspired to do more, immediately I got this sense of this is only the beginning.”
With his new-found confidence, he’s warned rivals he would “explore the 100m and the 200m.”