Wayde’s prematurity is no barrier 

Wayde van Niekerk was born on the 15th of July 1992, prematurely at 29 weeks and weighing just over 1kg.  His parents were advised his outlook was uncertain.  On Sunday night at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games he made history winning South Africa’s first gold medal since readmission.  He won the men’s 400m event in 43.03 seconds, smashing the world record at the same time.

Waydes first several weeks of life were spent in an incubator at the neonatal unit of Groote Schuur Hospital, Tygerberg.  In May of this year, he returned with a £30,000 donation to help expand the unit. He said: “From what my mother tells me it was apparently a very difficult and emotional journey to have a premature baby.

“There were days where she was not sure whether I was going to make it to the next day. That’s how sick I was.

“My mother is very passionate about premature babies since she cared for one herself.” 

On Sunday he became the fastest man in the world across 400m in a world record time of 43.03 seconds.  This result is the crowning achievement of years of hard work and ambition combined with natural talent.

Even though life might start on the back foot, doesn’t mean you can’t finish first.  

Further reading of his full story can be found here