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Van Zyl out in semis

South African LJ Van Zyl, the world’s fastest man in the 400-metre hurdles event this year, was blown away at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Berlin, Germany on Sunday.

Also blown away were the world’s fastest sprinters as that man, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, broke his own 100m world record in dramatic fashion, clocking an incredulous 9.58sec.

That improved on his previous best of 9.69sec, set at last year’s Olympics in Beijing China.

Bolt, once again looked like he had power in reserve as he beat Tyson Gay (US) and countryman Asafa Powell into second and third respectively.

Gay ran a US record of 9.71 and Powell clocked 9.84!

Earlier, Van Zyl had moved smoothly into the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles and was one of South Africa’s main hopes for a medal at the Championships. The country’s efforts at the last two World Championships in Osaka and Helsinki have proved fruitless in terms of medals.

But the Pretoria-based Van Zyl looked strangely out of sorts in his semi. He went out hard but never kicked on as is his style.

He ended up sixth in his semi-final, clocking 48.80sec, behind winner and defending World champion Kerron Clement of the US, who clocked 48.00.

Van Zyl ended up missing qualifying by just one spot. He had gone into the championship as the world’s fastest one-lap hurdler, courtesy of his 47.94sec, clocked in Monaco a few weeks ago.

There was also disappointment for javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen. After her African record of 65.43m at the World Student Games in Belgrade a few weeks back her 56.83m effort saw her eliminated.

But steepechaser Ruben Ramolefi ran a fine race in the 3,000m steeplechase heats, dominating his heat before tapping off and placing third in 8:18.24 to go through to the next round.