By Mark Etheridge
LJ van Zyl looks to continue his amazing run of form when he competes at the IAAF Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Tuesday evening.
The Pretoria athlete has broken Llewellyn Herbert’s 11-year-old South African record in the 400-metre hurdles, set a personal best over the flat 400m and is currently holder of the world’s four fastest times this year.
His latest achievement was a 47.91sec victory in the Rome leg of the IAAF Samsung Diamond League series. The day after his victory coach Hennie Kotze joined Van Zyl and the two headed off for┬á a training camp.
“Hennie has arrived and we went to Nijmegen, in Holland to start a training camp,” Van Zyl told Road to London 2012. “We went to Ostrava on Sunday for this latest meeting. After Ostrava we’ll then head for the United States for the New York leg of the Diamond League series.”
Van Zyl said his fine form and winning momentum was a priceless boost. “I’ve got a huge psychological advantage now but now the key is to focus and keep my head.
“I feel I can definitely go faster but will keep that for later. For now we’re sticking to the hard training to put more ‘petrol in the tank’.
“It’s very important now to keep consistency in order to run a big time later in the season.’
Also in action on Tuesday will be Lehann Fourie who ran a superb 13.55sec in the 110m hurdles in Hengelo on Sunday. By his own admission he said he didn’t have the best of races, technically speaking, in his first international race of the season. Should he correct those points, he could well go close to his personal best of 13.44.
“I hit a lot of hurdles in my race but I am very happy with the time so early in the European season,” said Fourie. “Tonight I am in the first heat which will be slower than the second heat where Dayron Robles and all the fast guys are, but at least I have the opportunity to run.
“Tonight I will also focus on my own race so I’m going to try to just run a clean race. Now I just need to focus on putting up a A-qualifying time and then I can work towards World Champs.”
Then Sunette Viljoen lines up for her second European meeting. She threw 60.61m in RomeÔÇª just 39cm off the A standard qualifying mark for World Championships later this year and will, like Van Zyl, again be looking for consistency.
Double gold medallist in the Paralympic World Cup event in Manchester last weekend, Oscar Pistorius runs the men’s 400m on Tuesday, along with another South African in the shape of Lebogang Moeng.