It was Van Zyl’s second consecutive second-place finish in a Diamond Meeting race. In both cases he ran times faster than 49 seconds. To top it all, he did it against top class competition including the winner, Bershawn Jackson (US), a former world champion and the Olympic and World Championship medallist, and Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) and Michael Tinsley (US), both Olympic and World Championships medallists, who last night finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Jackson’s winning time was 48.71 seconds. Van Zyl was second in 48.92s and Denis Kudryavtsev (Russia) third in 49.01s.
“It is a pity that I was drawn in lane eight, but I am not complaining because it is always a privilege to compete in the Diamond League. I am excited that I was able to hold my own against some of the best 400-hurdlers. From a psychological point of view it is important that these athletes realize that I mean business when I am competing against them. It is all about earning the respect of your fellow competitors,” the Tuks/HPC athlete said.
Being able to finish the race strongly is another positive that Van Zyl took from his performance.
“I really felt good over the last 90 metres, which means that my hard work is beginning to pay dividends. My coach said after the race that she thinks am definitely capable of running faster times. However, I am not too worried about times at the moment. It is more important to feel good after the race.”
Van Zyl’s next race will be the Diamond League Meeting in Monaco (July 17). He will also be in action in London (July 24). Sara Petersen (Denmark) won the women’s 400-hurdles race in 55.01s, with Nel second in 55.78s and Lauren Wells (Australia) third in 56.25s. Nel was reasonably satisfied with her race.
“I have hoped to be able to run a faster time. I think I either went out too fast or too slow over the first half of the race. The fact that we were running against a headwind made things slightly difficult but that is no excuse,” said Nel.
“The problem with running the 400-hurdles is that on one day you are able to run the near perfect race but the next time you make some small mistake which ends up costing you a few hundreds of a second. I guess that is what this 400-hurdles game is all about. I am confident that the next time I race I will have a good race again. What excites is me is that I was able to execute my strides between the hurdles to perfection.”
Zharnel Hughes (Britain) won the 200 metres in 20.13 seconds, with Jobodwana second in 20.21 seconds and Isiah Young (US) third in 20.27s.
South Africa’s Elroy Gelant finished 17th in the 5000m in a time of 14:04.71. Mo Farrah (Britain) won in 13:11.77.