Van Niekerk ready for 200m/400m double for new face of athletics

16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017- Previews

"It's one thing someone saying I can be the next big thing", the 25-year-old said on Wednesday.

He also ran a wind-assisted 9.69 seconds 100m in Stockholm in June.

He will still face stiff competition in the 100m event from American Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, as well as Jamaican team-mate Yohan Blake.

De Grasse is seen as a contender to take over Bolt's throne following his retirement and was also tipped to be a candidate to spoil the party on Saturday following his 200m silver, 100m bronze and 4x100m bronze at the Rio Olympics previous year.

In all his previous appearances in the finals of a World Championship, the Jamaican has always topped the chart barring once in Daegu, when he had a false start.

Joined on stage by his mum Jennifer and dad Wellesley at a brewery in central London, Bolt, 31, declared himself ready to go on Friday when the 100 metre heats kick off, before the finals 24 hours later, Sun reports. So a 100m runner's life is compressed into the nine-to-10-second bursts that a global audience see once every two years: in the Olympics and World Championships.

But that mutual respect has turned to animosity - a war of words of sorts between the pair when De Grasse's coach, Stuart McMillan, accused Bolt of getting his athlete kicked out of the 100m race at the recent Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Bolt's dad Wellesley said one piece of advice to his son from a tender age is still applicable even today.

De Grasse (file pic).

The defending 400m world champion said while he had no immediate plans to remove the one-lap sprint from his repertoire, the shorter distances would receive more attention in future.

"I'm not anxious. It's a championship, so it's about who can keep their nerve". "If I show up at a championships you know I'm fully confident and ready to go".

"You can't be happy about doping at all, it's not good for the sport".

The women's 100m hurdles also looks like a hugely competitive event with the US' Kendra Harrison, who broke the world record in the same stadium previous year after failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics, seeking the global title her talent deserves.

Van Niekerk obliterated Johnson's longstanding 400m world record with a run of 43.03 seconds past year in Rio.

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