By Mark Etheridge
A late inclusion for Victor Hogan in the South African team is reward for the hours and hours of training during his time on the sidelines.
Hogan is back in the national picture after a suspended spell for a banned stimulant.
But that’s all behind him now and the discus giant is focusing squarely on London.
He diligently kept up a gruelling training regime and has got back into the swing of things, with three international meetings to put the training into competitive reality.
‘My first meet was only 9 July, because of waiting for official clearance from Athletics South Africa and Maties to compete. I had to make plans to get to Europe urgently.
‘It was my worst travel period ever, it all just kept going wrong.
‘I started my first meeting with a 62.69 metre throw in Brussels and then on to Finland where I threw a 58 in the rain, and then on to Leiria on my last meet where I had 64.18m.
‘That one was testing, as I had travelled the entire day before, only got to my hotel at 11.45pm, and there was no dinner. But it was my last chance and I just told myself to keep focusing, keep focusing.’
Reflecting on his time out, he said: ‘I was very disappointed, working so hard and then it’s gone, just like that. But the ground ain’t no place for a champion.
‘For the first few months I trained through my conditioning and general phase without any supplements, and later USN helped me by getting tested supplements from their lab in Europe, and I’m beginning to believe that the only way an athlete can trust supplements is by having them individually tested.’
As for his London expectations? ‘Hey, it’s hard to say, but like Wayde [Van Niekerk, Olympic 400m champion] says, no athlete comes to these events just to fill a lane or a spot.’
Picture of Hogan in action at the last World Championships courtesy of Roger Sedres/ImageSA