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Van Niekerk's athletics season ends early

Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa celebrates after winning the men's 400 metres final during day five of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships Patrick Smith/Getty Images

World 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk has withdrawn from the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on August 24, due to a recurring back injury -- bringing an early end to his season.

Van Niekerk, according to a press release from his In-Site management team, has had to manage the niggle throughout the season despite retaining his 400m world title and claiming a silver medal in the 200m at the just-concluded IAAF World Championships in London.

"This injury has plagued me throughout the summer and I had to receive treatment from Dr [Hans-Wilhem] Muller-Wohlfahrt," Van Niekerk said.

"Obviously you don't want your competitors to know if you are struggling in any way, so I've kept it quiet until this point."

The reigning Olympic champion and world record holder returned to training this week in preparation for the Zurich Diamond League, which is one of the two finals of the season. However, the 25-year-old sprinter felt the back injury flare up again.

Following consultation with his coach Anna 'Tannie Ans' Botha, Van Niekerk has decided to bring an end to his season as a precaution in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April.

"I am bitterly disappointed I won't be competing in the last Diamond League event of the season as I haven't won a Diamond League Final before and was hoping to get my hands on one of the fiercely contested Diamond trophies. But we feel it is in my best interest to recover fully, in order to ensure I can take on the 2018 season in good health and at full strength," Van Niekerk concluded.