Wayde van Niekerk sets world record of 43.03 in winning men’s 400 gold

South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk crosses the line to win gold while setting a world record in the men's 400-meter race Sunday. (Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa set a world record Sunday in winning the men’s 400-meter race at Olympic Stadium.

Niekerk’s time of 43.03 seconds smashed Michael Johnson’s record of 43.18, set in 1999. It also broke Johnson’s Olympic record of 43.49 seconds.

Kirani James of Grenada, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was second in 43.76 seconds. LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic champion, was third in 43.85 seconds.

Merritt will also compete in the 200-meter dash here.

The 24-year-old Van Niekerk, who is the reigning world champion, dominated the stellar field while running in Lane 8 and seemed overcome with his huge victory.

His previous best time in the 400 was 43.48 seconds. His best time this season had been 44.11 seconds.

[Source: Los Angles Times]