#TuksAthletics: Hamman qualifies for the Olympic Games in the 400-m hurdles

Posted on June 15, 2016

LeRoux Hamman proved that perseverance pays off when he won the 400-m hurdles in a time of 49,24 s at the BestMed-Mondo Meeting on Saturday, 13 June 2016. This race also qualified him for the Olympic Games. It was only the second time he was able to run a time faster than 50 seconds.

For five years Hamman was considered to be just another also-ran in local 400-m hurdles races. Try as he might, he could not break through the 50-seconds barrier. But the Tuks athlete was never going to abandon his dreams and he resolutely continued training.

The first indication that Hamman was improving was when he won the 400-m hurdles at a Varsity Athletics meeting at the University of Johannesburg in a time of 49,99 s earlier this year. 'It was certainly the breakthrough I had been working for, but to be honest, running it in 49,99 s did not make me feel as if I had gone faster than 50 seconds,' he said.

Minutes after his 49,24 s victory, Hamman still struggled to fully comprehend what he had achieved.

The South African 400-m hurdles champion, and one of Hamman's training partners, LJ van Zyl (Tuks/hpc) was one of the first to congratulate him, saying: 'Jy is 'n yster! Well done!'

'The fact that I ran 49,24 s has not yet sunk in. I am just grateful. Actually, there was a chance I might not have run at all. I had flu this week and only trained on Tuesday. I spent most of the week in bed. It was only when I woke up this morning that I decided I was going to compete,' said Hamman.

He credited his coach, Irma Reyneke, for his breakthrough: 'We analysed what works and does not work for me. We came to the conclusion that my body is more suited to lactic work-outs. I don't like speed and it is hard on my body. I am more of an endurance racer who tends to become stronger towards the end of a race. Having an athlete of LJ's calibre as a training partner definitely helps. When we train I have to run hard to catch up with him or stay with him. Sometimes our training sessions are like mini competitions because neither of us likes to lose.'

Hamman will not compete at the African Championships in Durban because South Africa is only allowed to enter three athletes per event. Van Zyl, Cornel Fredericks and Lindsay Hanekom were chosen to represent the country in the 400-m hurdles.

'I realised that I would not have the opportunity to compete in Durban so I arranged to run internationally. My first race will be in Denmark on 25 June 2016,' said Hamman. He hinted that his next big goal is to beat 49 seconds.

Luvo Manyonga, a Tuks athlete who trains at the hpc, won the long jump with a distance of 8,05 metres. Zarck Visser (University of Johannesburg), who was competing for the first time in ten months, came second at 7,5 m, and Anthony Mwanga was third with a jump of 7,06 m.

Carina Horn (Tuks/hpc) won the 100-m sprint in 11,18 s. This was the third time she had managed to run 11,18 s in the past three weeks.

Wayne Snyman (hpc) won the 5 000 m race-walk in 19:42,7.

Russell Tucker (Tuks) won the discus event with a throw of 62,12 m.


- Author Wilhelm de Swardt

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