Athletics: Olympic hopeful Van Niekerk finds form with 200m win

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FILE PHOTO: South Africa's 400m Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk looks on as he attends South African Championships in Germiston

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Olympic 400 metres champion Wayde van Niekerk stepped up his return from long-term injury with a victory over 200 metres at the ASA Athletix Invitational on Tuesday.

Van Niekerk has barely competed since being injured in a charity touch rugby game in October 2017 but declared himself fully fit after winning in a time of 20.10 seconds, albeit with a +2.1m/s tailwind on a wet night on the Highveld.

"This definitely gave me confidence I didn’t have before," he said in a media release from Athletics South Africa after clocking a season's best time.

"It’s one thing training well, but it’s a different thing executing it against such a quality lineup, guys I have the world of respect for."

Van Niekerk smashed Michael Johnson’s 400m world record at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics to claim gold in 43.03.

He announced last month that he will move to the United States to train under renowned sprint mentor Lance Brauman, alongside American 200m world champion Noah Lyles and women’s 400m Olympic champion Shaune Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)