Wayde van Niekerk has been named on a shortlist of global superstars for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards, in the Breakthrough of the Year category.
The South African sprinting sensation could add another international accolade to his collection for his heroics at the Rio Olympic Games where he smashed the 400m world record to clinch the title.
Van Niekerk made history at the 2016 showpiece when he dismantled American Michael Johnson’s long-standing one-lap record, crossing the line in 43.03 seconds.
It could be Van Niekerk’s second major international accolade after he was named Best Male Athlete of the 2016 Rio Games by the Association of International Olympic Committees (Anoc).
“I am humbled just to be mentioned in the company of great sportsmen and women that have been nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards,” Van Niekerk said.
“Just to be nominated is a dream come true for any athlete, which will inspire and motivate me for years to come.”
Van Niekerk was shortlisted in the Breakthrough of the Year category along with Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana, the Fiji men’s rugby sevens team, Iceland’s men’s football team, Leicester City FC and Formula One driver Nico Rosberg.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is held annually, celebrating the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport for their achievements in the previous calendar year.
A nominations panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters voted to create a shortlist of six nominees in each of the five categories – World Sportsman of the Year, World Sportswomen of the Year, World Team of the Year, World Breakthrough of the Year and World Comeback of the Year.
“Being named alongside some of the most accomplished athletes in world sport is a testament to Wayde’s incredible rise on the global stage,” said Peet van Zyl of In-Site athlete management.