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- Mabulu grabs bronze, kata team wins three medals in Madagascar
- Cremona pulls out all the stops with best throw on SA soil
- Five-stroke cushion as Mistry makes her move
LJ flies to WC qualifying time in Slovenia
- Updated: June 5, 2013
You just can’t keep a good man down. By winning the 400-metre hurdles in a time of 49.11 seconds in Velenje, Slovenia on Friday night, two-time Olympian LJ van Zyl again proved this much.
Although it was the fastest time that Van Zyl (Tuks High Performance Centre) had run during the past 18 months, it was not the main reason why he was so thrilled, according to ZCMC. ÔÇ£What excites me is that I have qualified for the IAAF World Athletics Championship in Moscow. This means that there will be no more pressure on me to do so.
ÔÇ£I now have the luxury of just focusing on what is necessary for me to master the technique of running ‘that perfect race’ during the remaining build-up to the World Championship.ÔÇØ
According to Van Zyl his training partner and friend, Cornel Fredericks, played a major part in helping him to qualify. ÔÇ£Cornel ran at a fast pace right from the word go. He was in the lead up to the 250m marker, but then I passed him and went on to win.
ÔÇ£If Cornel did not go out at such a fast pace, it would have been almost impossible for me to run a good time in the very cold weather. During our race there was also a slight drizzle.ÔÇØ
Van Zyl set a new stadium record with his winning time. Emir Bekri─ç of Serbia was second in 49.15s and Fredericks third in 49.81s.
On Saturday Van Zyl will compete in Hengelo, the Netherlands, before he returns to South Africa to write the final examinations for his honour’s degree.
ÔÇ£I am planning to go back to Europe in July to compete in three more races. This will be my final preparation for the World Championship.ÔÇØ
Van Zyl admits that last season’s injury woes made him quite despondent.
ÔÇ£It really gets to you when you put in the long hours but nothing goes according to plan. At times you begin to wonder why you keep on doing what you are doing, when the easier option would be to quit.
ÔÇ£But I will never be able to quit. I want to carry on until the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio because I still want to win an Olympic medal. Only then will I be satisfied that I have achieved all my goals.
He went on to tell Road to Rio 2016: “And guess what? I haven’t got any aches or pains or injuries. My body feels like it did when I was 20!”
Van Zyl can already boast with a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championship in Daegu. ÔÇ£I need an Olympic medal to have the complete collection.ÔÇØ
Van Zyl has now won three races in Europe.
During the same meeting in Velenje, Orazio Cremona completed his own personal hat-trick with his effort of 20.19m in the shot put.┬á Dylan Armstrong of Canada won with a distance of 20.74m.
With this performance, the Tukkie has now done what no other South African shot putter has ever been able to do. He has thrown farther than 20 metres at three different meetings within 10 days.
On Sunday in Oordegem, Belgium, he won with a distance of 20.39m and the week before he won with a distance of 20.30m at the SA Open in Potchefstroom.
Cremona admits that it has been exciting days for him. ÔÇ£I am very pleased that I am now able to consistently throw past 20 metres. I have taken a huge step forward in my career. Now that I have proven to myself that it was not just a fluke one-off performance, I can begin to focus on throwing 20.60m to qualify for the World Championship.ÔÇØ