The 400m Men’s Hurdles is historically always a big race at South African Meetings and the race in Tshwane on Thursday, 08 March 2018, will be no exception with a quality line-up not seen for many years. This field includes a former world champion, an Olympic silver medalist, an Olympic finalist and a world championship finalist.
Nicholas Bett. The Kenyan stunned the world when he won the global 400m Hurdles title in Beijing in 2015, defeating such illustrious names as Kerron Clement. In that race he ran his Personal Best time of 47.79sec. That time puts him in 27th place on the world All Time list. Bett was DQ’d (disqualified) in the heats at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 and had to battle with injuries thereafter.
Training in South Africa since the end of 2017 with Irma Reyneke, Bett has already found good form after clocking 48.95 on 10 February in Pretoria and winning the Kenyan Commonwealth Games trials with a 49.14 in Nairobi on 17 February. Based on that form, Bett will be difficult to beat and should start as race favourite.
Abderraham Samba. The Qatari, coached by South Africa’s Hennie Kotze, finished 7th at the World Championships in 2017. He is no stranger to South Africa, having run his Personal Best of 48.31sec in Sasolburg on 28 March 2017. He won the Diamond League race in front of his home crowd in Doha on 28 May 2017 with a time of 48.44sec.
Aron Koech. The 28-year-old Kenyan made the finals of the 2016 Olympic Games 400m Hurdles where he finished 7th overall, running his Personal Best of 48.49sec. He was second at the Kenyan Commonwealth Games Trials in Nairobi, clocking 50.68sec. In 2017 he won four of the 10 races he entered.
LJ van Zyl. The South African has been around in the top ranks of 400m hurdling since 2002 when he won the World Junior title in Kingston, Jamaica when he was still only 16 years of age. Van Zyl’s best performance at Senior level is his bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu. That was also the year he set the South African 400m Hurdles record of 47.66sec which put him 20th on the World All Time List.
On paper he is the fastest in the field, however the 32-year-old has 49sec since 2016. Van Zyl though is renowned as a fighter and will not give way easily. At his age, Van Zyl has run under 50sec an incredible 154 times in his career, under 49.50sec 108 times, sub 49sec 68 times, sub 48.50sec 22 times and broken 48sec five times.
At the first Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting last week, Van Zyl finished second behind Great Britain’s Dai Green, the 2011 world champion with whom he has a long standing rivalry.
Constant Pretorius. The 2013 Africa Junior 400m Hurdles champion, boasts a best of 49.28sec set on 03 June 2017 in Tshwane. He finished third at the South African Championships in Potchefstroom on 21 April with a time of 49.83sec behind Le Roux Hamman and LJ Van Zyl, respectively. Pretorius finished 4th in Roodepoort at the first Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting running 49.72sec in only his second race of the season. This is his 5th best time of his career and the 7th time he has gone under 50sec.
Le Roux Hamman. The 26-year-old has raced four times already in 2018 and gone under 50sec twice. The first time was on 24 February where he beat LJ Van Zyl (49.76sec to 50.06sec.) His second time under 50sec in 2018 came at the first Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting in Roodepoort last Thursday Le Roux Hamman edged LJ Van Zyl to the national title in 2017 in Potchefstroom, when he crossed the line in 49.35sec. Hamman has been threatening to make a big breakthrough for some time now and many believed he had done just that when he ran 49.24sec in Tshwane in June of 2016. While he has shown glimpses of enormous potential, he has yet to make the big breakthrough expected of him.
Stephane Yato. The 25-year-old Frenchman is currently training in South Africa and has already raced three times in 2018. He caught the attention of SA fans when he posted a 49.98sec time in Potchefstroom behind Dai Green. He had to settle for 6th place at the inaugural Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting in Ruimsig, clocking 50.68sec. He has gone under 50sec only once in his career, but is a consistent 50.50sec and faster athlete, having broken the time on 10 occasions.
Hardus Maritz is from Namibia and has broken 50sec on four occasions, boasting a best of 49.48sec run in Bruxelles on 09 July in 2017. With an average time of 49.935sec, he is a contender in any 400m Hurdles race. The 27-year-old finished 5th in Roodepoort last week with a time of 50.37sec, a Season’s Best for him. He has run four races in 2018 already, opening with a 51.25 on 06 February, followed by 50.82s on 13 February and 50.39sec on 27 February before his 50.37sec in Roodepoort.
EVENT INFORMATION: Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series
Dates and Venues:
|Thursday, 08 March 2018||Tuks Stadium, Tshwane|
|Thursday, 22 March 2018||Dal Josaphat Stadium, Paarl|
Main Pavilion Tickets
|Standard Ticket:||R 100 each|
|Children under 16 years of age:||R 50 each|
Open Stand/Grass Banks
|Standard Ticket:||R 50 each|
|Children under 16 years of age:||R 50 each|
ONLINE TICKET SALES are open and can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za
Tickets can also be purchased at the gate of each event.
Visit the event’s Facebook page for daily announcements!
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About Athletics South Africa:
Athletics South Africa (ASA) is the national governing body for the sport of athletics (including Track and Field, Cross Country, Road Running and Race Walking) in South Africa, which is a member of the IAAF, and the Confederation of African Athletics. The association is based in Johannesburg.