- Continental honours for Kimberley’s Fitzpatrick
- Harris home on a high after three victories on the trot
- Golden boy Hamman on the mend after surgery
- Hartley’s Dusi buildup gathers pace
- World’s top teams head for SA
- Sunshine Ladies Tour starts fourth season in January
- Weber wins SA’s final gold medal of African Champs
- Tough going in Tongyeong for SA’s Radford
- Double gold for Venter as SA medal count reaches 59
- Winning start for Ellis as Banyana beat Egypt
Van Zyl fades to fifth in Monaco but stays positive
- Updated: July 18, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
He may have only finished fifth but 400-metre hurdles ace LJ van Zyl remains as focused as a sniper after Friday night’s Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
The Tuks/HPC athlete looked to running ever so fluidly, with plenty of rhythm and right on song for possible gold and a definite podium place but lost ground before the final hurdle and he went on to finish in 48.78sec as American Bershawn Jackson took honours in 48.23.
Still, it was the third time that Van Zyl had dipped under 49 seconds in a Diamond League this season. And consistency is key in Van Zyl’s eyes.
He was the only South African in action on Friday night as the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China draw ever closer.
Explaining his sudden fading, Van Zyl told Road to Rio 2016. ‘Yes the last hurdle I took off a bit too far off from the hurdle so had to go over with my left instead of right leg.
‘Up until then I was running a perfect race and on target for a good 48sec or maybe even under that. But then with losing that momentum it’s very hard to get going in such a short space of time.’
But there was still reason to be cheerful for Van Zyl. ‘It was the 65th time I’ve gone under 49sec so that’s still something to be thankful for.
‘What excites me is that I still haven’t run a perfect race. If I can take the best out of my races in Lausanne and Monaco then I can look forward to a great race in London at the end of the month.’
‘So yes, fifth may “look” bad but rather now than in Beijing.’
And Van Zyl was keen to emphasise that his ‘trade’ is always a learning curve. ‘People must remember that all these Diamond League races are preparation for Beijing. I could have gone out harder etc but now I’ve learnt tonight that I must be careful for that last hurdle.
‘Remember, I’ve been doing this for 12-13 years, yet I’m still a “student” and learning, learning, learning. And it’s just as exciting.’