The Olympic and world 400m champion requires surgery after injuring his knee during a celebrity touch rugby match

Wayde van Niekerk is set to be sidelined for six months as the Olympic and world 400m champion requires surgery for a knee injury.

According to a statement, the South African will be forced to miss the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – where he had hoped to contest the 100m and 200m – after he sustained “medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, as well as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)”, while participating in a celebrity touch rugby match in Cape Town.

“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,” said Van Niekerk, who is now in the US ahead of undergoing treatment in Colorado.

“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.

“I have faith that, God willing, I’ll be able to race again later next year,” added the 25-year-old, who got married over the past weekend. “Full recovery is going to be crucial, so I’ll be patient, but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible.”

The world 400m record-holder added on Twitter: “Thanks to all for the kind wishes! Sadly I announce now that I’ll be off the track for a while. Will be back stronger!”