Plan to honour Olympic hero gains ground

World record holder Wayde van Niekerk is set to get a stadium named after him.
This was announced at the Olympic Parade on Monday October 17 as fans welcomed home the Western Cape-based Paralympic and Olympic athletes.

Among them was 400m World Record holder Wayde van Niekerk, who smashed American Michael Johnson’s time at the Rio Olympics in August.

Congratulating all the atheletes, mayor Patricia de Lille said: “When we reopened the Green Point Athletics Track last year, we wanted it to enable our children to feel as if their dreams are within reach. I said that the scale and quality of this stadium will mean that school children will be able to perform on the same track as Olympic athletes.

“I also said that the young girls and boys who are dreaming of becoming the next global athletics icons now have the opportunity to make that dream a reality.”

She gave special mention to the Paralympic athletes as well as Cape Town born Wayde.

“Through striving to be your best, you have become the best, and given us all a heightened sense of pride. The values you espouse – those of humility, love and respect for your family – as well as using the opportunities you have been granted, sets the most amazing example to our sons and daughters.

“In a time when the youth are facing incredible challenges, you gave us the gift of hope.”

Hanover Park resident Taaliq Saue, who was at the parade, said the renaming of the stadium was a fitting tribute to Wayde. “I set my alarm to wake up to see Wayde and all the other athletes, so it was good. I think it is a good idea to rename the stadium to inspire the youth. Green Point track is an old track so why not rename it.”

Christopher Fourie, from Mitchell’s Plain, added: “It’s an example to the other children so that they can also do what he has done. He’s done us and South Africa proud. I think the renaming of the stadium is the best thing that could happen to give recognition for what he did.”

Shaun Fraser, from Milnerton, said the athletes’ achievements were “magnificent” for the country. “There are a lot of underprivileged kids and this will motivate them to push, train and go further in life. It shows again that nothing is impossible.”

However, he said, he didn’t think that the renaming of the stadium was a good idea. “Nothing against him but it is going to cost a lot of unnecessary money so they should leave it at what it is for the moment.”