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Brussels behind her, Nel says she’ll bounce back

Nel

By Mark Etheridge

The global track and field season came to an end in frustrating fashion for South Africa’s Wenda Nel in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday night.

She was the sole SA competitor in the final leg of the IAAF Diamond League series after a long and gruelling season.

Going off in the 400-metre hurdles, Nel trailed in eighth and last with a time of 56.30 seconds, as Olympic champion Daliliah Muhammad of America won in 53.89 from Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hejnova (53.93).

It’s a long way off the 54.58 season’s best she ran in Rome almost three months ago, but the Pretoria athlete took defeat squarely on the chin and and is looking forward to setting things right in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia, next year.

Speaking to Team SA, Nel says in hindsight she should have called time on her season after the recent World Championships in London.

‘But then I would never have known how I could have run in Belgium. So now I have to weigh up a few things, have a look at the training programme and work out how we’re going to tackle next season.

‘Again, I felt good in the warm-up and the race. Then, on the second last hurdle I made a small mistake,  doubted myself and had to put in an extra stride which cost me a bit of time.

‘It didn’t cost me that much time, but otherwise I might have been able to dip under 56. I haven’t run a 56sec time for a while now and it doesn’t feel good.

‘I’m heading home now and focus will switch to the Commonwealth Games. I’m thinking it will fit nicely into our planning. Once again, South Africans have long seasons compared to the rest of the world and it’s not easy to plan.

‘But I’m really looking forward to the Games. Must just get my head right, keep the physique strong and hopefully it’ll be my time to peak, because I do like racing in April.’

Next Diamond League action will be on 4 May next year in Doha, Qatar.


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