South African sprinter Van Niekerk runs sub-20 second 200

LUCERNE, Switzerland (AP) South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk joined American great Michael Johnson in elite company while setting a national record in the 200 meters.

Van Niekerk clocked 19.94 seconds on Tuesday to become only the fourth runner to have a sub-20 time over 200 meters and a sub-44 in the 400.

He ran a career-best 43.96 this month to beat Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada at the Diamond League meet in Paris.

Van Niekerk, who turned 23 on Wednesday, entered the 200-400 club alongside Johnson, LaShawn Merritt of the United States and Isaac Makwala of Botswana, according to the IAAF.

Makwala’s African record of 43.72 set on July 5 retook the continental mark from Van Niekerk set one day earlier.