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Van Zyl blasts to sub-49sec victory in Sasolburg
- Updated: March 26, 2014
Two-time Commonwealth Games medallist LJ van Zyl’s season gets better and better, writes Mark Etheridge.
Two weeks ago the 400-metre hurdler clocked his fastest time in more than two years when he won the Tshwane Championships event in 49.09 seconds.
On Tuesday night he upped the ante even more as he dipped under the 49sec barrier with a 48.96 victory at the Sasol NWU-Pukke permit meeting in Sasolburg.
Runner-up was Wouter le Roux (49.83) and Van Zyl’s fellow Olympian in London two years ago, Cornel Fredericks (50.15).
Van Zyl who will be out to add a third medal to the gold and silver in won in Melbourne and New Delhi, was understandably over the moon.
“It looks like things are getting better and better,” he told Road to Rio 2016. “I’m very happy that I’m back in the 48’s and it will help me lots when it comes to overseas invites.”
Pressed for any other reasons for his fine early-season form Van Zyl said: “I think the main reason is just hanging in and ‘vasbyting’ but I’ve also brought a few changes into my training programme that seem to be working.
“I also think what’s helping is that I’ve been making use of Monja Human, a sports psychologist at the High Performance Centre here in Pretoria. She’s brilliant and is just great to chat to, and also my super chef Irvette [Van Zy’s wife] who has helped me with my diet.”
That diet sees Van Zyl balancing his diet better, although still finding time to fit in his beloved lamb meat from the family farm back in Molteno, Eastern Cape.
“I’ve also made use of a dietician, Nicci de Villiers, since October and I’m convinced that this has helped. I have my fat percentage measured every six weeks and also experimented with my food intake so that I eat more but spread it out more, and obviously depending on my training sessions.”
Also in action on Tuesday were Stephen Mokoka in the 3,000m. Mokoka is part of the SA team to this weekend’s IAAF World half-marathon championships in Copenhagen, Denmark and clocked 8:16.73 for his win.
And 800m ace Andre Olivier stepped up a distance to win the 1500m in 3:42.68. Part of the SA team at last year’s World Track Championships, sprinter Akani Simbine won the men’s 100m in 10.22.
Back from making the final at world indoor champs in Poland, Orazio Cremona won the men’s shot put in 20.09.
Of the women, Wenda Nel won the 400m hurdles in 55.56, while Carla Marais took long jump honours in 6.33, just edging Lynique Prinsloo by one centimetre.