By Mark Etheridge
Track champion LJ van Zyl cleared one of the biggest hurdles of his career this weekend when he convinced road champion Irvette van Blerk that their personal paths were one and the same.
The current world bronze medallist in the 400-metre hurdles event popped the question of marriage to the multiple road title holder on Saturday and the answer was a big three-letter YES!
Now the two can sit back and concentrate on their respective athletics careers ÔÇô Van Zyl is an almost certain bet to make the team while Van Blerk, 24,┬á is hoping to make the team as well, over the marathon distance.
Wedding plans are on hold though until after next year’s Games at least.
Said a happy Van Zyl, 25, from Oudtshoorn on Sunday evening: “I asked Irvette at my house where I had planned a very romantic evening and then we went to a restaurant where I had pre-arranged a nice table with champagne and the works ÔÇô cool hey?|
“We met way back in 2004 at the SA Junior meeting in Bloemfontein and have basically been dating since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I was basically just waiting for the right time to do my thing!”
Apart from their athletics pursuits the two have plenty in common, both being involved in farming. Van Zyl’s pride and joy is his growing herd of cows back at the family home in Molteno, Eastern Cape.
Van Blerk works with her mom at the family nursery in Krugersdorp.”Irvette’s also a farmer,” laughed Van Zyl, “she just farms with flowers and plants… lots in common.”
With the combined athletics pedigree one can only marvel at the outcome when the young couple decide to have children… certainly South African athletics can only benefit!