Updated 27 July 2008
Alwyn MYBURGH, South Africa (400m Hurdles)
Born 13 October 1980, Vanderbijl Park
1.88m / 71kg
Rainbow Athletics Club, Vereeniging
Coach: Herman Venske
At the age of 27, Alwyn Myburgh, one of numerous outstanding 400m hurdlers produced by South Africa, will compete in his third successive Olympics, confident that it will be his best. Hailing from a truly athletics family, his parents were national senior champions and representatives of teams travelling abroad before South Africa’s isolation period from world athletics that commenced in 1976.
Mother Hybre was a versatile star, who won national titles in five events (one was at 400m Hurdles) and set 19 South African records. Together, she and her husband, Hugo, a 50.04 hurdler in 1974, won 17 national championship crowns.
Known for his sharp sense of humour, Myburgh married in November 2007. His wife, Aneldia, is a former versatile athlete, whose events included 400m Hurdles, and he is busily engaged in legal studies, on a four-year course from the University of South Africa. The oldest of three children, Myburgh’s sister, Heleneze, was a provincial athlete.
The 2000 Sydney OIympics provided Myburgh’s first real taste of global athletics. Only 19 at the time, he reached the Semi-Finals and gained valuable experience. In 2001, he repeated his achievement at the World Championships, in Edmonton, before travelling to Beijing, where he won gold at the World Student Games. Clocking 48.09, he finished the year seventh on the world best performances list and the time remains his personal best. His previous best had stood at 48.90, achieved in February of the same year, so it was a vast improvement (by 0.81).
The years 2002 and 2003 were frustrating for Myburgh. He started 2002 well in South African meetings with a fastest time of 48.39 and three more sub-49sec clockings. However, injuries ruled him out of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the African Championships in Tunisia. He was back in 2003 with a fastest time of 48.61 in Poznan, Poland, before reaching the Semi-Finals of the World Championships in Paris/Saint-Denis, France. He was also a member of the South Africa 4x400m team but further bad luck followed and he missed the 9th All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria.
A finalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics (7th in 49.07 after 48.21 in Semis), and a silver medallist in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games (48.23), Myburgh regards these two championships, together with his 2001 victory in Beijing, as the highlights of his career. A variety of injuries over the years curtailed his progress and had a major impact on his record. He pulled up in the opening round of the 2007 World Championships in Osaka and so far in 2008 featured in only a few races with a fastest of 48.99 that was achieved twice.
Myburgh’s coach, former sprinter Herman Venske, believes in intensive speed training and the athlete ran a variety of sprints this year before another injury ruled him out of the national championships as well as the African Championships, in Addis Ababa. Victory in the Madrid Grand Prix on 5 July boosted his confidence for the Olympic Games where he will run in the hurdles and possibly also in the 4 x 400m.
400m Hurdles: 48.09 (2001)
400m: 46.28 (2004)
400m Hurdles: 1998 - 52.48; 1999 - 50.15; 2000 - 49.07; 2001 - 48.09; 2002 - 48.39; 2003 - 48.61; 2004 - 48.21; 2005 - 48.75; 2006 - 48.23; 2007 - 48.64; 2008 - 48.99.
1999 1st African Junior Championships
2000 S/F Olympic Games
2001 1st World Student Games
2001 S/F World Championships
2003 S/F World Championships
2004 7th Olympic Games
2006 2nd Commonwealth Games
2006 2nd African Championships
2006 8th World Athletics Final
2007 3rd All Africa Games
2007 x World Championships (injured in 1st round, dnf)
Prepared by Gert le Roux for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008