Generally considered the man to beat, Wayde van Niekerk seems to be taking easy with a 3rd place qualifying finish in the 400m Olympic heats.
Wayde crossed the finish line with an unimpressive 45.24 seconds, with Australia’s Steven Solomon taking second place (44.94 seconds) and Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano taking first (44.87 seconds).
However, the defending champion only needed a third place finish to qualify for the semi-finals and it is known that he does not exert himself if he does not have to.
With the blistering hot Tokyo sun beating down at 40 degrees Celsius, he slowed down during the last 100m, characteristically looking around to see if he is not being overtaken.
After a touch rugby incident in 2017, the 400m record holder has had to two major reconstructions surgeries to his knee.
He spent two years recovering, limited his racing schedule and generally took it easy to made sure that his body can handle the grueling Olympic racing schedule.
For the past two seasons, Wayde had only competed in five 400m races and for the current season, is listed as 10th on the international list of 400m sprinters.
However, he is currently the only South African that has made it through to the finals.
The semi-finals will take place on Monday and will start at 13:05 (South African time) in the afternoon.