Middle-distance track ace Johan Cronje may only race his first competitive event as late as next month’s national championships, writes Mark Etheridge.
The multiple SA 1500m champion battle for most of 2011 with a back and knee injury. He started coming right and even took part in a Summer Series meeting but it was too good to be true.
“I injured my hip just after Christmas so had to sit on the sideline till the other day,” Cronje told Road to London 2012 this week. “I’ve been training for three weeks now and I don’t feel too bad, don’t think I lost too much fitness.”
Cronje turns 30 next month and enjoyed a great year in 2009 as he set personal bests in three distances ÔÇô the 1500m, mile and 5000m events. He’s also already an Olympian, having competed at Athens in 2004 where he made the semi-finals of the 1500m event.
Now the Bloemfontein athlete may have to opt for a radical switch of tactics for the 2012 season. “Because off all the injury and bad luck I’m going to be concentrating on the 800m this season, because I didn’t have enough time for base work for the 1500. It’s a bit of a gamble but rather that than quitting because of too little time to prepare.
Cronje’s best 800m time is the 1min 45.77sec he ran in Lapinlahti, Finland six years ago.
He won’t be in action at Tuesday’s Yellow Pages meeting in Stellenbosch. “But I’m thinking of running the second Yellow Pages in Potchefstroom this weekend in Potchefstroom… but not 100%sure yet. Maybe my first race might be SA’s!”