Wayde van Niekerk, the South African sprinter who stunned the world with his splendid performance at the Rio summer Olympic games has been awarded the Best Male Athlete at Rio by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
Wayde van Niekerk made a spectacular performance in Rio when he smashed a 17-year-old world record.
The 24-year-old won the gold medal for the men’s 400m in a world breaking time of 43.03 seconds.
The previous record-holder was Michael Johnson, a US sprinter who finished the 400m in 43.18 seconds in 1999.
Not only did he break a world record, he also broke a South African record by becoming the first South African to gold in the 400m in 19 years (since 1996). To add to his record-breaking feat, he became the first man to win an Olympic 400m title from lane 8 — the toughest lane in track events.
Becoming the Best Male athlete at Rio also makes van Niekerk the first South African to win this award.
2016 has without a doubt been a good year for van Niekerk. In addition to this award, he was shortlisted for the men’s IAAF World Athlete of the Year award, as well as the South African sports award.
Some other winners at the Association of National Olympic Committees(ANOC) include:
Best Female Athlete of Rio 2016: Monica Puig (Tennis), from the Comité Olímpico de Puerto Rico
Best Male Athlete of Rio 2016: Wayde Van Niekerk (Athletics), from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee
Best Female Team of Rio 2016: Team GB Hockey (Hockey), accepted by Hollie Webb, from the British Olympic Association
Best Male Team of Rio 2016: Team Fiji Rugby Sevens (Rugby Sevens), accepted by Osea Kolinisau, from the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee
ANOC Award for Most Inspirational Performance: Rafaela Lopes Silva, from the Brazilian Olympic Committee
Most Successful NOC of Rio 2016: Team GB, accepted by Lord Co.