Usain Bolt believes Wayde van Niekerk should have won the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award instead of Nico Rosberg.
Bolt, who was named Laureus Sportsman of the Year, was surprised when Rosberg, who recently retired from F1 after winning his maiden driver’s championship, won the award ahead of Van Niekerk, who smashed Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old 400m world record at the Olympic Games in Rio.
‘If I’m honest, I would have definitely given it to him [Van Niekerk],’ Bolt told Sport24. ‘I never thought I would see Michael Johnson’s record broken. I’ve seen many athletes try and they’ve come way short.
‘I remember the first time I saw him [Van Niekerk] run and afterwards and my coach [Glen Mills] sat me down and said ‘there are only two people who can break this 400m world record’.
‘I said “who is that?” and he said “one is you, and one is Wayde van Niekerk.”
‘He said it to me earlier when we had the discussion about the 400m. He said “you have to have the speed. If you don’t have speed, you can’t break Michael Johnson’s world record”.
‘Wayde has the speed and the strength and determination.’
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
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