WOLRD CHAMPS: Gold medalists Wayde van Niekerk and Usain Bolt share a moment on the pitch

Wayde van Niekerk won South Africa’s first gold medal of the Rio Olympics as he blitzed to the 400m final title in a new world record time.

Van Niekerk, running from the unfancied lane eight, never looked back, as he broke Michael Johnson’s 17 year-old, dipping in at 43.03 seconds.

The Liverpool fanatic said after the race that he was on a winning streak after his Reds beat Arsenal 4-3 a few hours before his race on Monday morning.

Wayde said afterwards: “Now I’ve got the world record and Liverpool beat Arsenal. I’ve got a lot to brag about.”

His Rio roommate Akani Simbine, who finished fifth in the 100m final, hailed Wayde, saying: “I always knew he had it in him to be great, and that he could break the world record.

“It’s pretty cool to know that my friend is an Olympic champion, and a world record holder.”

Triple Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt cut his post-race interview to congratulate the Kraaifontein-born ace.

And the Jamaican legend says: “When he got the world record I was like ‘wow, he did it’.

“I told him in Jamaica when he was there [for a training programme in June] that my coach said you’re probably the only guy right now that can break this 400m record because he’s got speed and he’s got strength and you came out and proved me right. I’m really happy for him.”

“I’d love to run the 300 against him next year.”