My bronze feels like gold – LJ van Zyl

2011-09-02 13:29

“This bronze is the same as gold for me!”

This was LJ van Zyl’s reaction after he got Team South Africa on the medal table here last night.

After four attempts at the world title, the day eventually came for the Tuks Athletics Club hurdler as he broke the country’s medal drought on day six of the ongoing IAAF World Championships.

Van Zyl, who came to the event boasting a world leading time of 47.66, shrugged off a problematic hamstring injury to wrap up what has been a brilliant year all round for him in the hurdles. He stopped the clock at 48.80 just behind winner David Greene of Great Britain (48.26) and runner-up Javier Culson of Puerto Rico (48.44).

Cornel Frdericks finished a credible fifth in 49.12 on his debut in the world championships.

“I worked so hard for this and today I am happy that I got the bronze which is the same as gold for me,” said Van Zyl shortly after the drama-filled final.

No reason was given as yet by the organisers as to why the race was restarted twice. No one was red-carded.

“When it happened I knew it was not me. I am glad no one was disqualified. Other guys were very nervous after that but I took a breath and ran my own race.

“Today I ran blind all the way. It is difficult to come from behind to catch the guys – that was my old style. This year I went out fast and that’s how I ran the 47s.”

Van Zyl broke the domestic record with a 47.66 in the Yellow Pages series in February and replicated the feat with a similar mark in the Cezch Republic in a space of three months.

“I had a consistent year. I was a bit worried though when I came here because I was feeling a little bit of pain in my hamstring.

The injury held back my training a bit and I was really worried that I would not finish the race.

I drank anti-flamatories and I am glad it’s also hot here and they provide good medical treatment.”

Next up for the 26-year-old is a shot at the money-spinning Diamond League where he has accumulated the second most points.

“That is confirmed (Diamond League participation) and I am leaving in the next two days to Berlin (Germany) and the final in Brussels (Belgium on September 16).

“If I win the one in Brussels, then I take home the Diamond. That’s all in the plan for this year.”

Interestingly Van Zyl is placed between Greene and Culson in the current standing.

» Van Zyl also formed part of the South African men’s 4x400m relay team, which took silver today, earning the nation’s third medal at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

He joined Shane Victor, Ofentse Mogawane and Willem de Beer to clock 2:59.87 to finish second behind favourites the United States, who won in 2:59.31. Jamaica took third in 3:00.10.

Follow Mothowagae on twitter @DanielMothowagae for regular updates at Daegu 2011. Follow City Press @City_Press

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