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LJ looks to shine

By Mark Etheridge

The world’s fastest 400-metre hurdler last year, LJ van Zyl makes his much-awaited 2012 hurdles debut at Thursday’s Yellow Pages Interclub competition in Pretoria.

The national record holder opened his season on 24 March in a flat 400m event in Potchefstroom but wasn’t overly happy with his fourth place in 46.50sec and will be looking for a solid opening in his specialist event.

“I’m keen to better the Olympic A standard (49.50sec) and earn my place to the Games. I qualified internationally in Korea [World Championships] last year already,” Van Zyl told Road to London 2012 on Wednesday.

“Timewise ideally I’d like to run under 49 seconds, then I’ll be happy for now,” he said.

Last year Van Zyl had to contend with a niggly hamstring periodically but reckons he has no such problems right now. “No injury or sickness worries, my body is just a bit sore from the last few weeks of good training.”

With a long year ahead of him Van Zyl says he feels in good form. “I think this year my times will be good in any case and don’t think I’ll need to peak twice not that I really believe in peaking.”

After Thursday Van Zyl will focus on the national championships coming up in Port Elizabeth on 13-14 April. “I’d like to defend my hurdles title. I think it will be my fifth or sixth SA title that I’m chasing and that’s important to me. I’ve had a good training base this year and have worked on getting that from November last year already.”

Back to Thursday’s meeting though and Van Zyl will be up against Potchefstroom’s Shaun van Wyk and Bellville’s Taariq Solomons. Athletes will be out to secure maximum points for their respective clubs.

Teams will be made up of 20 athletes (10 male and 10 female), all competing in one chosen event. Events being contested are the 100m, 400m, 800m, 3000m, 100m/110m hurdles, 400m hurdles on the track and field events will be the shot put, javelin, long jump and high jump.

Points will be scored on position on the following basis: 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and the eighth placed finisher gets one point.

The club winners of the competition will pocket R100 000.  The club finishing second will receive R75 000 while third, fourth and fifth place will get R50 000, R25 000 and R10 000 respectively.

Commonwealth Games javelin champion Sunette Viljoen has pulled out of Thursday’s competition with a minor niggle.


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