South African Athletics

SA trio want more than silver

2015-07-11 11:53
LJ van Zyl (Getty Images)

Pretoria – South Africa’s leading women’s and men’s 400m hurdlers Wenda Nel and LJ van Zyl proved they were capable of challenging the best in the world at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting on Thursday evening.

The duo claimed silver medals along with South African 200m record-holder Anaso Jobodwana where they all beat some of the world’s top athletes for podium spots.

Van Zyl finished his race with a flourish despite being drawn in lane eight to cross the line behind United States’ Bershawn Jackson.

Jackson clocked 48.71s with Van Zyl posting his second sub-49 race of the season with a time of 48.92s with Denis Kudryavtsev of Russia bagging bronze in 49.01s.

"I think it went well, I was drawn in lane 8, I’m not complaining, and I am just grateful to still be competing here," Van Zyl said.

"I had a good finish with 80 metres going which I though was good if I have to say so myself. Irma sent me a breakdown of how I can still improve.

"The wind was a bit of a hassle but it is not about the times at the moment and it is just about how I was feeling."

This was Van Zyl’s second Diamond League silver medal after his 48.78s run at the New York meet last month.

The Tuks-HPC athlete said while the wind was not conducive to running fast times, he was grateful to still be racing at this level.

"What excites is the guys that were in my field that I beat, it was important to get a psychological edge to show that I am also in the mix," he said.

Nel again demonstrated she was capable of challenging the best in the world straining herself in the final straight.

Sara Petersen of Denmark finished in first place with a time of 55.01s with Nel clocking 55.78s for the silver while Lauren Wells of Australia took third in 56.26s.

"I am satisfied, I was hoping for a faster time but it was a little bit windy, it is not an excuse but I either went out too slow or too hard against the wind which made me tired towards the end," Nel said.

"I believe the next one will go better, it is just part of 400m hurdles where one is good, and the next one not so much."

Jobodwana stepped up a gear coming out of the bend in the half-lap sprint to cross the line in second place behind Britain’s Zharnel Hughes with a time of 20.21 seconds.

Hughes clocked a personal best time of 20.13s with Isiah Young of the United States finishing in third place with 20.24s.

The Olympic finalist was disappointed with his race and his start in particular restricting him from running a faster time.

"My objective for this season is to go sub-20 and work myself into a medal contender for the World Championships in Beijing," Jobodwana said.

"It was a very competitive field today and that´s what I like, I can assess where I am against the best athletes in the world.

"I had a terrible bend but a rather good finish…I need to go back to the drawing board and work on my start."

Read more on:    lj van zyl  |  anaso jobodwana  |  athletics
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