Van Zyl out of Rio, but not done yet

2016-08-17 08:00
LJ van Zyl (Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro - LJ van Zyl is 31-years-old, meaning that his semi-final exit from the 400m hurdles on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, SA time) is almost certain to be his last participation at the Olympic Games. 

It was a tough ending for a man who has contributed so much to South African athletics. 

Van Zyl, who will be 35 when the Tokyo Olympics take place in 2020, was leading for much of his semi-final. 

He ran out of gas badly, though, coming down the home stretch where he was overhauled in the last 50m to slip down to 5th. 

He has now participated at three Olympics with his 5th-placed finish Beijing the highlight, but Van Zyl still has plans to keep racing.

"It definitely won't be (the end of the road)," Van Zyl said after his race.

"I want to do one more World Champs (London, 2017) and one more Commonwealth Games in Australia (2018)"

On his race, Van Zyl had no regrets over his strategy.

"I went out hard but I knew the other guys were also going to go hard. I didn't want to leave too much to do at the end," he said.

"I didn't have the legs from the last hurdle touchdown to the finish.

"I tried my best ... but I didn't have the legs to finish the race. I'm disappointed."

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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