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Athletics | SA Track & Field


Van Zyl fights to finish 2nd in Shanghai

LJ van Zyl proved that he has got his “groove” back on Saturday (13 May) by finishing second in the 400m-hurdles at the Diamond League Meeting which took place in Shanghai.

In the season’s first Diamond League Meeting in Doha he finished in third place. One would have thought that Van Zyl was beaming with confidence.

But sometimes results never tell the full story. Earlier this season the Tuks-athlete admits to being at a crossroad concerning his athletics career.

“I no longer believed that I had what it takes to compete against the world’s best anymore. It is not a good place to be. If it was not for Hennie Kriel(TuksAthletics Coach), I might have opted to quit, but apart from being a great coach Hennie Kriel is also a great motivator. He made me believe that it would be worth my while to continue to train and race. Now I am reaping the rewards and it really satisfying.”

Bershawn Jackson (USA) won the 400m-hurdles in Shanghai running 48.63s. Van Zyl was clocked at 49.35s with Rasmus Magi (Estonia) third in 49.38s.

As in Doha Van Zyl impressed with his acceleration and never say die attitude going over the last two hurdles. He really had to dig deep to secure a second place finish.

Van Zyl admits that his time is nothing to get excited about.

“I am not focussed on running fast time at the moment. I am racing to compete. I would rather run 49 seconds now and get faster progressively as we get closer to the World Championships in London. There are certainly a few 48 second races in my legs. The important thing is to realise that you cannot force time in a hurdles race as that usually leads athletes to making mistakes.”

**The South African 400m-hurdles champion, Wenda Nel (TuksAthletics), set a new personal best on Saturday when she won the 400 metres at a league meeting at the University of Pretoria. Nel won in 52.03s which is 0.06s than the time she ran in 2015 in Potchefstroom.

Nel starts her international campaign on 26 May 2017 when she competes in the Prefontaine Classic Diamonde League Meeting in Eugene, USA.


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