#TuksAthletics: Hanekom dreams of racing in the Olympic final

Posted on May 26, 2016

Lindsay Hanekom is officially the South African Open and South African Students 400-hurdles champion and has accomplished all his goals. Unofficially, however, he hopes to qualify for the final at the Olympic Games in Rio.

'My goals for the season were to improve my best time of 50 s to 49,11 s and to qualify for the Olympic Games. I have achieved both and can now just run to enjoy myself,' said the Tuks/hpc athlete, who will start his international campaign on Wednesday, 25 May 2016, at the IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Dakar.

Hanekom achieved both his goals in the semi-finals of the South African Championships. He won his heat in 49,03 s, which also qualified him for the Olympics. He has his mind set on qualifying for the final in Rio. Ideally, he would like for both himself and Cornel Fredericks to qualify.

'Cornel is my role model. If, as an athlete, I could achieve just some of the things he has, I would be really happy. The most important thing I have learned from Cornel is to stay modest. An athlete is only as good as his last race.'

If both Hanekom and Fredericks should qualify for the Olympic final, a 'full-on war', lasting only about 49 seconds, can be expected.  No mercy will be given or expected. 'I am going to race to beat Cornel and he will definitely do his utmost to beat me,' said Hanekom.

Fredericks (Tuks/hpc), whose international campaign will probably begin on Saturday at a small meeting in Belgium, said one of the reasons South Africa has such a proud history in the 400-hurdles is because the best athletes don't shy away from racing each other. 'We all love a good challenge and, because of our hunger to succeed, we keep pushing each other to perform at our best. I admire Lindsay for what he has achieved so far this season, especially considering that he had to overcome a number of small setbacks to do so,' he said.

South Africa's shotput champion, Orazio Cremona (Tuks/hpc), will also be competing in Dakar. 'My focus will be on making sure that my technique is 100% correct. If I manage to do that, the big distance will happen,' said Cremona, who needs to throw a distance of 20.5 m to qualify for the Games.

South African 400-hurdles champion Wenda Nel (Tuks/HPC) finished third at the Diamond League Meeting in Dakar on Sunday. Jamaica's Janeive Russell won in 54,16 s with Cassandra Tate (USA) coming second in 54,69 s. Nel's time was 54,88 s.

According to Nel, she probably started off too quickly in her race and had to pay the price over the final 100 metres. 'The windy conditions certainly did not make matters easy but I am not going to use that as an excuse. If I manage to find the right balance in a race I will run faster times,' she said.

Carina Horn (Tuks/hpc) impressed spectators with the way she fought back over the second half of the 100 metres race. Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) won in 11,02 s, Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria) came second in 11,11 s and Kerron Stewart (Jamaica) came third in 11,19 s. Horn's time was 11,28 s. 'Considering that I did not have the best of starts and that we were running into a headwind (1,3 m/s), I am not too disappointed with the way my race played out,' said Horn.


Photo credit: Reg Caldecott


- Author Wilhelm de Swardt

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