The 24-year-old Cape Town runner gave a blistering performance from lane eight with a time of 43.03 – breaking US star Michael Johnson’s 19-year record.
And four time Olympic gold medalist Johnson, watching from the BBC commentary box, was one of the first to congratulate him – saying: ‘Oh my God! From lane eight, a world record.
‘He took it out so quick. I have never seen anything from 200m to 400m like that.
‘He may well have run faster in the second 200m, than in the first.
‘Well done to this youngster. A world record. That was a massacre from Wayde van Niekerk. He just put those guys away.
‘Van Niekerk is so young, what else can he do? Can he go under 43 seconds? It is something I thought I could do, but never did. Usain Bolt will be retiring soon, this could be the next star of the sport.