South Africa's star sprinter Wayde van Niekerk lived up to his billing as the favourite to win the 400 m race at the World Championships as he stormed to victory in the quarter mile in London on Tuesday. The Proteas is well on course to become the first athlete to win the golden double (200 m and 400 m ) after America's Micheal Johnson who accomplished the feat in the World Championships.
With his main competitor Isaac Makwala absent after being excluded controversially on medical grounds, Olympic champion and world record holder Van Niekerk was a cut above the rest in his pet event and eased to victory with a sensational run, underlining his status as the sport's new superstar in the post-Bolt world.
The South African's time of 43.98 seconds was almost a second down on the astonishing record he set a year ago in Rio, but he was still 0.43secs clear of Steven Gardiner in second and the fast-finishing Abdalelah Haroun in third.
'Decision to withdraw Makwala disturbing' Day-to-day guide - what to watch and when Medal table & GB medallists On a night when Britain's Kyle Langford continued the series of near-misses for the host nation by finishing an agonising 0.04secs off an 800m bronze, the row over Makwala's exclusion saw a bitter exchange of words between his Botswanan team and the IAAF medical team.
Whether Makwala, who was chasing his own 200m/400m double, would have got close to Van Niekerk is another matter, as the favourite was able to ease off in the final few metres without ever looking as if he had extended himself.
In front of another capacity crowd at the London Stadium, a brilliant pole vault competition won by USA's Sam Kendricks and the 800m victory of France's Pierre-Ambroise Bosse also helped light up a cold night.