Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk will miss next year’s Commonwealth Games after being sidelined for six months with a knee injury.
Van Niekerk’s management team confirmed on Tuesday that he had flown to Colorado in the United States to undergo knee surgery this week.
The 400m world record holder, who had revealed he would focus on the 100m and 200m events at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April, had torn the meniscus and ACL in his right knee while playing a celebrity touch rugby match in Cape Town earlier this month.
He would undergo six months of rehabilitation in Colorado, Doha and South Africa before being able to train again.
“I was looking forward to competing in the 100m and 200m events in Gold Coast, and participating at the national championships in March, so this is unfortunate timing,” Van Niekerk said in a statement.
“But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals, will make this process as smooth as possible.”
Van Niekerk, who married long-time girlfriend Chesney Campbell at a ceremony in Bloemfontein at the weekend, hoped to return to competition later next year.
The world and Olympic 400m champion had displayed his versatility in recent years and was expected to be competitive in both short sprints at the Gold Coast Games.
In his absence, the SA sprint contingent would be led by national 100m record holder Akani Simbine.