LJ to defend his African title in Benin
By Danie Cornelius
Posted on 21 June 2012
LJ van Zyl
Reigning Africa 400 m hurdles champion, LJ van Zyl, will be defending his title and will try to win his fourth consecutive title at the Africa Senior Championships in Benin next week.
“Achieving this will be very special as no other athlete has ever done it. It won’t be easy, but I am going to try my best,” said Van Zyl. He won in 2006 (Bambous, Mauritius), 2008 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and 2010 (Nairobi, Kenya).
Amaechi Morton (NGR) is the fastest African athlete this season with a time of 48.79 seconds in Des Moines in the USA on 8 June, and is currently ranked sixth in the world. Next in line is Cornel Fredericks who has been exempted from competing at the Africa Senior Championships as he is currently overseas preparing for the London Olympics. The Mozambican athlete Kurt Couto and Mamadou Kasse Hanne from Senegal have also achieved faster times than Van Zyl this season – Couto’s best time was 49.02 seconds in Praha on 11 June, and Hanne’s best was 49.04 seconds in Angers on 17 June.
“I haven’t run a good time yet this year and the competition in Africa will be strong.” The SA record holder says that this will be ideal as he wants to achieve a good time in Benin. The 26-year-old from Pretoria struggled with a knee irritation and his best time this season was 49.42 seconds on 5 April, when he achieved the Olympic qualifying time of 49.50 seconds.
According to Van Zyl, Africa will be the ideal platform to test whether he is on the right track for the Olympic Games in London.
The CAA Africa Senior Championships will take place in Porto Novo, Benin, from 27 June to 1 July, with the team departing on Sunday, 24 June.