Cape Town - National 400m hurdles champion Cornel Fredericks has linked up with a new coach, Hennie Kotze, after the recent death of his former mentor.
This means that Fredericks and LJ van Zyl, the SA record holder in the event, will be training partners at the University of Pretoria.
Fredericks, 22, had a difficult season this year. A month before the London Olympic Games his coach, Bruce Longden, died at the age of 72.
His second major setback occurred at the Games during the heats of his specialist event.
Fredericks had a good start and was running from the front, but he struggled to the finish with a torn hamstring.
“I know now that the right thing to do would have been to stop the moment I felt my hamstring, but I simply could not. I was running at the Olympics," Fredericks said this week.
“After the Olympic Games I had to make an important decision. After a long discussion with my parents, I decided that the best option for me would be to ask Hennie Kotze to coach me.
"This meant moving to Pretoria and staying at the University of Pretoria high performance centre."
Van Zyl hoped the two would benefit from training with each other.
"I think Cornel moving to Pretoria is the best thing that could have happened,” Van Zyl said.
“Remember what happened when Alwyn Myburgh, Ter de Villiers and I were all coached by 'Oom' Hennie? We dominated the 400m hurdles for three years, setting the fastest times from 2006 to 2008.
"All three of us qualified for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (2006) and the Olympic Games (2008).
“I have great respect for Cornel. The advantage of training together is that we will be pushing each other to perform just that extra bit better."
Kotze said he would monitor each athlete individually, with Fredericks joining a training group that also includes promising one-lap hurdler PC Beneke and Kurt Couto of Mozambique.
“LJ and Cornel will not be training together all the time," Kotze said.
"I will work with them individually as well.”