It’s been a nightmare – Van Zyl

2012-08-03 14:07

Things just didn’t work out for Cornel Fredericks and LJ van Zyl on the day the nations’ expectations were pinned on them as probable medallists.

The 400m hurdles duo bombed out of the Olympics during the qualifiers on Day 1 for athletics today.

Fredericks, who opened for Team SA athletics, finished last in a time of 52.29 while Van Zyl came home in sixth place in 50.31.

Said Van Zyl: “I am not the same as last year. From April ... It has been a nightmare for me. I had a knee injury on my right leg at the beginning of the year. It has been tough Olympic build-up for me ... my confidence was down.”

The 27-year-old lost his SA title to Fredericks in Port Elizabeth in April.

This after a remarkable 2011 when the Tuks Athletics runner was riding on a record breaking streak, kicking off with a national mark 47.66 and culminated his season with a bronze at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Similarly, Fredericks had a blinder at Daegu 2011 where he reached the final in his debut on the global stage. He finished a respectable fifth.
But the wheels came off for the two at London 2012.

Said Fredericks: “I went over the first hurdle and I felt a pop on my right hamstring. I’m quite disappointed today as I had set high expectations for myself. I wanted to get to the finals.”

As for what he takes out of the Games, the Western Province runner said: “The atmosphere at the stadium was unbelievable. The facilities in the (Athletes) Village are world class and we couldn’t have asked for more. I’m going home now to rest and come back better next year.”

In the pool, South African swimmers also flopped in all their races.

Trudi Maree, Heerden Herman and the men’s 4x100 medley relay team were dumped out in the first round of their respective events.

Maree finished eighth in her 50m freestyle heat in 25.78 seconds and failed in her attempt to qualify for the semifinals.

Herman was sixth in his 1 500m freestyle heat in 15:25.71 and was unable to qualify for the final.

The relay quartet – consisting of individual gold medallists Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos, as well as Charl Crous and Leith Shankland – finished seventh in their heat in 3:35.23, missing out on a place in the final.

» Later tonight, Beijing 2008 Olympics silver medallist Khotso Mokoena will line up in the long jump qualifiers from 8.50pm SA time.

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