Athletics

Former SA 800m record holder dies of Covid-19

Marius van Heerden (Getty)
Marius van Heerden (Getty)

Former South African 800m record holder Marius van Heerden has died as a result of contracting the coronavirus. 

He was 46. 

According to Netwerk24, Van Heerden became ill with the virus a week ago and died in a Cape Town hospital on Friday. 

He is survived by his wife, Petra, and two sons, Tiaan and Hugo. 

Van Heerden represented South Africa at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and it was in that year that he broke the national 800m record, which had stood for 25 years at the time.   

According the the Netwerk report, Van Heerden set the new 800m record at the Green Point Stadium in 1996 in front of 10 000 people with a time of 1:44:57. 

He went to the Olympics later that year, but was eliminated in the heats before Hezekiel Sepeng broke his record as he bagged a silver medal for South Africa.

According to legendary former middle-distance runner Johan Fourie, Van Heerden's efforts that day at Green Point made for one of the best 800m runs he had ever seen. 

Fourie descried Van Heerden as being "fearless" that day and running "with guts". 

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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