- LJ van Zyl’s international campaign for the season will start on Saturday
when he competes in the 200m hurdles at the Great City Games in Manchester.
The event will take
place at the purpose-built athletics arena in Albert Square in the heart of the
city. It will provide a unique opportunity to see top athletes from
across the globe competing in an urban environment and it will not be
surprising if more than 20 000 fans should turn up to watch the action.
According to the
Tuks/HPC athlete this is one of his favourite meetings on the European
Athletics calendar, especially because it is in aid of charity.
Van Zyl has a good
track record in Manchester. In 2013 he won the 200m hurdles in a time of
Only Britain’s Andy
Turner (20.11 in 2011) and the United States’ Bershawn Jackson (22.26, also
in 2011) has run faster times than the South African.
“The Great City Games
will be an excellent warm-up for me before I compete in the Diamond League meeting in Doha (May 15),” said Van Zyl, who has already qualified on four
occasions this season for the World Championships in Beijing. His best time so
far was 49.26.
“Doha is very
special to me. It is where I won my first major international race in 2005. I
also hold the meeting record with a time of 48.11.”
Van Zyl has run times
faster than 49 seconds in the 400m hurdles on approximately 48 occasions. His
best performance so far was in 2011 when he set the South African record of
47.66 seconds in Pretoria.
“I know the first
time I was able to do so was in 2002 when I was just 16,” he said.
“My guess is that it
is probably correct to say that I have run times faster than 49 seconds on 48
occasions. Perhaps I should sit down and count how many times I have done it. I
would love to take my tally up to at least 50.”
“One of my immediate
goals at the moment is to break 49 seconds again. I am confident that I will be
able to do so in Doha. After winning the South African title in Stellenbosch I
took a short break to recharge my batteries for the international season. Since
I am back on the track my training has gone very well.”
Van Zyl will compete
in the Diamond League Meeting in New-York on June 13 and maybe in Rome as well
on June 4.