Van Zyl qualifies for Olympics

2012-04-05 21:30

Pretoria - South African 400m hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl qualified for the London Olympic Games at a Yellow Pages Inter-club meeting here on Thursday.

Van Zyl won the race in a time of 49.42 seconds, dipping under the Olympic standard of 49.50 for the second time to book his place to London.

He ran his first qualifying time at last year's IAAF World Championships in Daeugu, South Korea, when he secured the bronze in a time of 48.80.

All he has left to do to cement his place in the South African team is to pitch up for next week's SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth.

He beat junior athlete Taariq Solomons, who finished in a time of 50.83 and Shaun van Wyk in third place in 51.91.

Van Zyl clocked the four fastest times in the world in his specialist event last year, setting a new national record of 47.66 seconds on the same track at the beginning of 2011.

Earlier, South African sprinting ace Simon Magakwe ran an Olympic qualifying time in the men's 100m.

Magakwe led from start to finish, running the fastest short sprint distance this year in a time of 10.16 seconds, dipping below the 10.18 qualifying time.

He has now set qualifying marks for London in both the 100 and the 200, after he won the latter, in 20.38 under the required time of 20.55 in Potchefstroom a fortnight ago.

Roscoe Engel finished in second place in a time of 10.30 with Hannes Dreyer in third posting a time of 10.38.

South African women's sprinting champion Tolofelo Thipe also ran a qualifying time in the 400m, adding to the qualifying standard she set in the 200m in Potchefstroom.

Thipe ran the one-lap race below the qualifying mark of 51.55 in a time of 51.52 as she left her competitors trailing metres behind her.

She was followed by Sonja van der Merwe in 52.75, with Estie Wittstock behind her setting a time of 52.87.