Van Zyl, Cronje qualify | SASCOC - SASCOC

Van Zyl, Cronje qualify

By Mark Etheridge

Hurdler LJ van Zyl is on fire in Europe. On Monday it was Prague in the Czech Republic, on Wednesday it was Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics 400 metres hurdles finalist opened his European track season in style with a 48.78sec second spot in Prague and on Wednesday he upped the tempo, winning his race in 48.71sec.

On both occasions he bettered the A-standard qualifying time and must now be a dead-cert to join the national team for August’s world track and field championships in Berlin, Germany.

Said Van Zyl, fifth in the Olympic 400 metre hurdles final in Beijing last year: “There was a lot of wind tonight, so I’m very happy with my time.”

It was Van Zyl’s second sub-49sec run for the distance this year.

At the same time he exacted revenge on┬á Britain’s David Greene who had defeated him in Prague on Monday. Van Zyl and Greene were given the same time but Van Zyl was given gold. Jamaican veteran Danny McFarlane was a close third in 48.80 sec.

Also qualifying for Berlin on Wednesday was national 1,500m champion, Johan Cronje.

Competing in the Thessaloniki Athletics Festival in Greece he also recorded the best time of his career — 3 min 35.11sec and became the third SA runner to qualify for the 1500m — the others being Juan van Deventer and Peter van der Westhuizen.

The race in Greece was won by Gideon Gathimba of Kenya in 3:34.72 sec with Bilal Mansour Ali of Bahrain a close second as Cronje tried to forge through the inside lane.

It is expected that South Africa will be sending three representatives in the 1500 metres for the very first time.

Of the other South Africans in last night’s race Tsamano Setone was fifth in 3:42.26 with Pharson Magagane seventh with a time of 3:44.16.

DB Prinsloo, Cronje’s coach was a relieved man last night, telling Sapa: “Johan was determined to do it in Greece and I knew he would be able to go beyond the required 3min 36.20sec. He was under pressure because he only had a visa until tomorrow. Now he can relax. He has to return first but will have about two weeks in Bloemfontein before returning to Europe.”

“Johan judged his race perfectly by passing 800m in 1min 53sec and the bell in 2:38. He did the right thing to stay in contact with Gathimba and Ali all the way.”


  1. Run Fan

    June 11, 2009 at 10:19 am

    where can I find an events schedule so I can follow LJ and the other boykies in Europe?

  2. Mark

    June 12, 2009 at 11:52 am

    At this stage, LJ has confirmed places in Ostrava (June 17), Lausanne (July 7) and Athens (July 13) in the build-up to world champs. Otherwise the IAAF website (go to competitions) is normally pretty good with info regarding event line-ups etc .. especially with the bigger meetings!

    Mark Etheridge
    Managing Editor, Road to London, 2012

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