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Fredericks working on capturing confidence before Beijing
- Updated: February 16, 2015
Cornel Fredericks has an excellent chance of becoming only the third South African 400-hurdles athlete to win a medal at a World Championships at this year’s event in Beijing, China – provided he starts believing in himself.
The only other South African athletes who have won 400m hurdles medals at world championships are Llewellyn Herbert (silver – 1997) and LJ van Zyl (bronze – 2011).
Fredericks is without a doubt one of South Africa’s most talented hurdle-athletes and his work ethic, on and off the track, cannot be questioned. However, he is the first to admit that he sometimes lacks confidence in his own abilities.
‘Often, just before a major race, I cannot help doubting my own abilities. m I good enough, strong enough, fast enough? This is definitely something I need to work on. I simply have to convince myself that I am good enough and that my best effort will also be good enough. It might help if could stop setting my heart on a specific position in a race beforehand. The truth is that I am often racing against myself, being my own worst opponent,’ the hpc sponsored athlete from Tuks said.
It’s strange that Fredericks still experiences such a lack of self-assurance, especially considering his brilliant season last year. y winning gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, African Athletics Championships, as well as at the Continental Cup meeting, Fredericks has without any doubt established himself as one of the world’s foremost 400-hurdles athletes.
Another highlight for Fredericks was finishing as the third-best 400-hurdles athlete in the IAAF Diamond League, which was in itself a great achievement.
As far as running times are concerned, he has also proved himself to be one of the best. Only Javier Culson (Puerto Rico – 48.03 seconds) was able to run a faster time than Fredericks’ best time (48.25) last season. In his 13 races of the season, Fredericks had only once failed to finish in the top three and was victorious on seven occasions.
Fredericks is looking forward to the challenges of the new season. ‘I will undoubtedly have to lift my standards if I want to remain competitive in international races. I have already discussed with my coach, Nico van Heerden, what aspects we should concentrate with next year’s Olympic Games in Rio in mind. At the moment the Games are really what everything is about. I have also studied videos of last year’s races, trying to identify what I did right, as well what mistakes I made.’
Fredericks is looking forward to defending his South African title which he had won the past three years (2012, 2013 and 2014). He was also the champion in 2010.
‘The South African Championships is always a special event for me. It is one of only a few opportunities that I get to race in front of my own people and therefore it is very special.’
Fredericks is comfortable with what is expected of him. ‘I know there are many people who expect me to win a medal at the World Championships and next year’s Olympic Games. I am always ready for any challenge, and the one promise I can make is that I will to my utmost to win. But in athletics there are never any guarantees. At the moment the 400-hurdles is a very competitive event because it is not dominated by one athlete.
‘I have set myself a personal goal, namely to see if I can run a time faster than 48 seconds in the 400-hurdles.’
Picture of Fredericks courtesy of Reg Caldecott