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Hurdler Hamman looks to come good at Student Games

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This athletics season has been a real rollercoaster ride for South African 400-metre hurdles champion, Le Roux Hamman, with definite highlights, but also disappointments.

It’s a good thing in a way, as it means the Tuks/HPC athlete will be a man on a mission at the World Student Games in Tapei when he lines up to race next Thursday. His best time in the hurdles is 49.24 seconds, but he refuses to believe that he’s not capable of running a faster time.

‘Thanks to my coach, Lucinda Pienaar, my training has gone well. I’ve been surprised with some of the times I have clocked during training. More importantly, with her help I regained my confidence as an athlete.’

The Olympian said 2017 feels like two separate years wrapped in one.’Up to the South African Championships, it felt like a dream season in which I was confident of getting to run my breakthrough race, but then everything started going south.’

A definite highlight for the Tuks/HPC athlete was winning his first senior title at the South African Championships in Potchefstroom. The biggest disappointment was not being selected to represent South Africa at the World Championships in London, in spite of having qualified according to the standards set by the IAAF.

He was also left high and dry mid-season in Europe when Hennie Kotze (former coach) informed him that he was no longer able to work with him.

According to Le Roux, that did impact quite negatively on performance and mindset. Le Roux is honest when asked how he feels about missing out to compete at the World Championships.

‘I won’t lie –  it did hurt me emotionally. It’s not as if I am competing in athletics for personal glory. I’m an athlete because I love the sport. Especially the challenges that go with being a hurdler. I will say the most important reason why I am competing is to prove to myself that anything is possible if I put my mind to it.

‘The reality, however, is that any athlete who is serious about the sport wants to be rewarded at some time. It might just be to get the chance to test yourself against the world’s best. But I guess it won’t help to dwell too much on what could have been. I will keep on training and compete until I feel I’ve achieved what I set out to do as a hurdler. I haven’t even come close to doing so. For now, my focus is just the World Student Games.’

Constant Pretorius is the other Tuks 400m hurdler who missed out on competing at the World Championships in London, in spite of having qualified. Competing in Tapei is also the opportunity for him to prove a point.

Picture of Hamman courtesy of Reg Caldecott


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