SA hurdler sets his sights on London Olympic Games

2012-03-31 15:09

Lehann Fourie has already represented South Africa at two senior global meetings, yet not much is known about the Pretoria-born 110m hurdler.

The 25-year-old, who is based in the US, initially left these shores on a full scholarship in 2007 to study and pursue his track career at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

He said the opportunity of plying his trade abroad turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for his track ambitions.

“It was really a good experience to see how the Americans do it and how professionally they handle everything, from practice to participation,” Fourie told City Press from his base in South Carolina this week.

“I’m just a normal Affie boytjie from Pretoria that got the opportunity to live my dream of running for my country.”

Fourie graduated in Business Administration in 2010, but not everything went according to plan after his return home last year.

“My season didn’t go as well as planned last year, so in May I decided to go back to the US again to start preparing for the Olympic Games.

“It takes time to get used to another way of training in a different country, and I didn’t want to make the big switch so close to 2012 after getting used to the training in the US. I’ve moved to South Carolina now where the weather is more favourable for training and the coach is also more experienced in my event.”

Fourie made his international senior debut at the IAAF World Championships in Germany in 2009.
He just missed out on qualification during the heats.

Early this month, he lined up in the 60m hurdles in his maiden IAAF World Indoor Championship in Turkey.

“It was my first world indoors and also my first time in a major final,” said the 1.96m-tall hurdles specialist.

Fourie notched up a second place during the heats and a third spot in the semifinals, but slumped to seventh spot (out of eight) in the final.

“The indoor season was a big part of my preparation for the Olympics. I had to work on my start and my first few hurdles. Being in the final really gave me confidence.”

His personal best is the 13.44 he ran in 2010. The 2010 African Championships 4x100m relay gold medallist said he was chasing the 13.52 A-standard Olympic qualifier.

“For the next few months, I am going to focus on making sure I hit all the standards that Sascoc has set to make the team to London.

“It really excites me to see the change in Athletics South Africa. The federation is making positive changes, the athletes are working harder than ever and putting in good performances. All we need is the nation to start believing in athletics again.”

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