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Happiness for Hogan and Fredericks … but not for Van Zyl
- Updated: July 30, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
It was agony and ecstasy for Team South Africa’s two hurdlers in the morning action of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Wednesday.
The smiles belonged to Cornel Fredericks as he cruised to victory in the second of three 400m heats, winning in 49.26sec to automatically book his place in Thursday’s final.
But for fellow London Olympics hurdler LJ van Zyl there was only frustration as he ran a one-paced race to end fourth in 50.07 in the last of the heats. Only the first two in each heat went straight through, plus the next two fastest – and Van Zyl’s time was 0.27sec off the slowest qualifier.
Said the victorious Fredericks. ‘I went out hard for the first 200m to make up the stagger. I knew that if I wanted a chance in the final, then I had to get a good lane.
‘After the eighth hurdle I took it slightly easier and there’s still something in the tank for the final.’
Fredericks had his right thigh tightly strapped but says there’s no reason for concern. ‘It’s purely a precaution. It’s quite chilly out there with a bit of a wind so I don’t want to take any chances.’
As for Van Zyl, who also failed to make it out of the heats in London, he was nonplussed about his non-performance. ‘Flat, flat, flat… I just don’t know why,’ he said as he bemoaned his fate. ‘I was lying second or thereabouts for almost the whole way but in the last stages there was just no acceleration, nothing left,’ he said bemusedly.
In the men’s discus qualifying, Victor Hogan certainly has something left. The big man from Kleinmond cruised into Thursday’s final with a season’s best 64.16m effort with his last of three throws.
That after an opening effort that he would want to banish from the memory banks post haste. ‘I warmed up nicely but my first throw I was just a bit nervous,’ he said off an effort that barely got higher than a few metres.
‘Second one I just wanted to get in and get a score on the board and then the third one was great. Conditions weren’t great with a bit of wind over the left shoulder and I would have preferred a bit of headwind.’
Hogan has a personal best of 65.33 and reckons it will probably take something in that vicinity to medal, given the same conditions. He turned 25 last Friday so a podium place would make a great belated birthday present.
The team’s three sprinters all progressed into the semi-finals of the men’s 200m earlier.
Ncincilili Titi, knocked out of the 100m heats on Sunday, was quickest of the trio with a 20.66, Akani Simbine next best with a 20.77 and Van Niekerk, predictably slowest with a 20.84.