South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk’s Olympic campaign got off to a comfortable start in the men’s 400-metre at the Rio Games on Friday.
Van Niekerk, running from lane seven in the third of seven heats, won the race comfortably in a time of 45:26.
He beat a challenging field, which included five men with personal bests of 45 seconds or less.
Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic and Javon Francis of Jamaica came second and third, respectively. Fellow African Alphas Kishoyian finished second last in the seven-man run.
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old van Niekerk became the 107th sprinter to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres, having previously run the 200 inside 20 and the 400 in under 44. No other individual has managed this three-way feat.
He was his country’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Games last week.