Juan plays waiting game | SASCOC - SASCOC

Juan plays waiting game

By Mark Etheridge

One man who would have taken keener notice than most in this week’s milestone of 200 days to go before the London Olympics is track ace Juan van Deventer.

Van Deventer was one of Team South Africa’s few-and-far-between successes of the Beijing Olympics four long years ago as the team returned with just a solitary silver medal. The Gauteng athlete showed his undoubted class by fighting his way through some tough races to make the final of the men’s 1500-metre where he placed seventh in 3min 34.77sec.

He also won his heat en route to the final.

But his whole preparation for the next Games took a jolt when he was knocked over by a car in May last year while out training. The accident was quite literally a body blow and to this day he has been unable to race competively again.

A patient man is a wise man though and Van Deventer is taking it one step at a time as he waits for his knee to heal completely. “Still no racing yet, the knee has to get stronger before I can race again,” Van Deventer told Road to London 2012 this week.

“Once I’m able to do some quality training we’ll only then decide what race I want to target to qualify for London.”

And the 28-year-old is not panicking just yet. “Maybe by the end of February we’ll decide what races to run. Since the accident it’s been a long fight to get back to where I’d like to be and I’ll continue to be patient in my preparation. So for now its still just training and rehab.”

Van Deventer is aware that for him to make the team for SA he will have to qualify twice to be taken into consideration for selection before the window of opportunity closes. “Right now I’d say I’m at about 70% fit. The main aim will be to qualify and then use the last few weeks to sharpen up to be competitive in London.”

And competitive is a key part of Van Deventer’s mindset.

“I have no ambition to go to London and just compete. I want to go there and be competitive. I’m confident that I have enough time though. Not saying it’s going to be easy but its definitely possible.”

It’s also a definite that Team South Africa needs a whole lot more people with Van Deventer’s fighting spirt and determination.

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