LJ VAN ZYL

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    South Africa South Africa
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    20 JUL 1985
    ATHLETE'S IAAF CODE
    182784
South African 400m hurdler LJ van Zyl (Getty images)

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
100 Metres 10.62 +0.5 Durban (RSA) 30 MAR 2007
100 Metres 10.3h * +2.6 Bloemfontein (RSA) 03 FEB 2003
200 Metres 20.71 -1.0 Pretoria (RSA) 20 MAR 2015
300 Metres 32.32 Berlin (GER) 05 AUG 2009
400 Metres 44.86 Germiston (RSA) 26 MAR 2011
400 Metres Hurdles 47.66 Pretoria (RSA) 25 FEB 2011
400m hurdles (84.0cm) 50.30 Pretoria (RSA) 13 APR 2002
4x100 Metres Relay 39.71 Berlin (GER) 21 AUG 2009
4x400 Metres Relay 2:59.87 Daegu (KOR) 02 SEP 2011

Legend

* Not legal.

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
400 Metres Hurdles 49.45 Pretoria (RSA) 08 MAR 2018

Outdoor

100 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2016 10.95 +0.6 Pretoria (RSA) 27 FEB 2016
2015 10.78 -0.6 Pretoria (RSA) 13 FEB 2015
2009 10.73 -1.0 Berlin (GER) 05 AUG 2009
2008 10.77 -0.3 Pretoria (RSA) 27 MAR 2008
2007 10.62 +0.5 Durban (RSA) 30 MAR 2007
2001 10.89 -1.1 Rustenburg (RSA) 30 MAR 2001

Outdoor

200 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 21.10 +1.7 Pretoria (RSA) 04 MAR 2017
2016 21.34 NWI Pretoria (RSA) 29 FEB 2016
2015 20.71 -1.0 Pretoria (RSA) 20 MAR 2015
2013 21.40 Pretoria (RSA) 16 MAR 2013
2009 21.02 +0.4 Pretoria (RSA) 14 FEB 2009
2005 21.20 +0.1 Pretoria (RSA) 19 MAR 2005
2004 21.33 +0.8 Potchefstroom (RSA) 13 FEB 2004
2001 21.70 Roodeport (RSA) 02 MAR 2001

Outdoor

300 Metres

Performance Place Date
2009 32.32 Berlin (GER) 05 AUG 2009

Outdoor

400 Metres

Performance Place Date
2017 46.57 Pretoria (RSA) 04 MAR 2017
2016 46.86 Pretoria (RSA) 08 MAR 2016
2015 46.23 Pretoria (RSA) 13 FEB 2015
2013 47.54 Potchefstroom (RSA) 19 MAR 2013
2012 46.50 Potchefstroom (RSA) 24 MAR 2012
2011 44.86 Germiston (RSA) 26 MAR 2011
2010 46.62 Potchefstroom (RSA) 17 APR 2010
2009 45.82 Pretoria (RSA) 30 JAN 2009
2008 46.02 Shanghai (CHN) 20 SEP 2008
2007 46.56 Windhoek (NAM) 13 APR 2007
2005 46.28 Pretoria (RSA) 30 MAR 2005
2004 46.41 Pretoria (RSA) 20 FEB 2004

Outdoor

400m hurdles (84.0cm)

Performance Place Date
2002 50.30 Pretoria (RSA) 13 APR 2002

Outdoor

400 Metres Hurdles

Performance Place Date
2018 49.45 Pretoria (RSA) 08 MAR 2018
2017 49.29 Pretoria (RSA) 12 APR 2017
2016 48.67 Ostrava (CZE) 20 MAY 2016
2015 48.78 New York, NY (USA) 13 JUN 2015
2014 48.96 Sasolburg (RSA) 25 MAR 2014
2013 49.11 Velenje (SLO) 04 JUN 2013
2012 49.42 Tshwane (RSA) 05 APR 2012
2011 47.66 Pretoria (RSA) 25 FEB 2011
2010 48.51 Nairobi (KEN) 30 JUL 2010
2009 47.94 Monaco (MON) 28 JUL 2009
2008 48.22 Athina (GRE) 13 JUL 2008
2007 48.24 Roma (ITA) 13 JUL 2007
2006 48.05 Melbourne (AUS) 23 MAR 2006
2005 48.11 Monaco (MON) 10 SEP 2005
2004 49.06 Grosseto (ITA) 16 JUL 2004
2003 49.22 Durban (RSA) 11 APR 2003
2002 48.89 Kingston (JAM) 19 JUL 2002
2001 51.14 Pretoria (RSA) 21 APR 2001

Outdoor

4x100 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2009 39.71 Berlin (GER) 21 AUG 2009

Outdoor

4x400 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2016 3:04.73 Durban (RSA) 26 JUN 2016
2015 3:10.11 Stellenbosch (RSA) 18 APR 2015
2013 3:10.54 Stellenbosch (RSA) 13 APR 2013
2012 3:03.46 London (GBR) 10 AUG 2012
2011 2:59.87 Daegu (KOR) 02 SEP 2011
2008 3:01.26 Beijing (CHN) 22 AUG 2008
2006 3:01.84 Melbourne (AUS) 25 MAR 2006
2005 3:04.64 Helsinki (FIN) 13 AUG 2005
2004 3:04.50 Grosseto (ITA) 13 JUL 2004

Honours - Olympic Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
5. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.42 Beijing (CHN) 18 AUG 2008
7. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:03.46 London (GBR) 10 AUG 2012

Honours - World Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 4x400 Metres Relay 2:59.87 Daegu (KOR) 02 SEP 2011
3. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.80 Daegu (KOR) 01 SEP 2011
6. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.54 Helsinki (FIN) 09 AUG 2005

Honours - World (Continental) Cup

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.35 Athina (GRE) 16 SEP 2006
5. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.97 Split (CRO) 04 SEP 2010

Honours - World U20 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.89 Kingston (JAM) 19 JUL 2002
2. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:04.50 Grosseto (ITA) 13 JUL 2004
4. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.06 Grosseto (ITA) 16 JUL 2004

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.43 Bambous (MRI) 10 AUG 2006
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.51 Nairobi (KEN) 30 JUL 2010
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.91 Addis Abeba (ETH) 02 MAY 2008
3. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:04.73 Durban (RSA) 26 JUN 2016
4. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.79 Marrakesh (MAR) 12 AUG 2014
4. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.46 Durban (RSA) 24 JUN 2016

Honours - All-African Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.74 Algiers (ALG) 21 JUL 2007

Honours - Diamond League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 47.91 Roma (ITA) 26 MAY 2011
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.11 Doha (QAT) 06 MAY 2011

Honours - World Athletics Final

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.74 Thessaloniki (GRE) 12 SEP 2009
2. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.08 Stuttgart (GER) 10 SEP 2006
3. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.11 Monaco (MON) 10 SEP 2005
5. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.95 Stuttgart (GER) 13 SEP 2008
8. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.62 Stuttgart (GER) 22 SEP 2007

Honours - Golden League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.24 Roma (ITA) 13 JUL 2007

Honours - Commonwealth Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.05 Melbourne (AUS) 23 MAR 2006
2. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.63 New Delhi (IND) 10 OCT 2010
2. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:01.84 Melbourne (AUS) 25 MAR 2006

Honours - National Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.34 Stellenbosch (RSA) 15 APR 2016
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.29 Stellenbosch (RSA) 18 APR 2015
1. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:10.11 Stellenbosch (RSA) 18 APR 2015
1. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:10.54 Stellenbosch (RSA) 13 APR 2013
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 47.73 Durban (RSA) 10 APR 2011
1. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:04.73 Durban (RSA) 10 APR 2011
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.86 Stellenbosch (RSA) 15 MAR 2008
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.63 Port Elizabeth (RSA) 11 FEB 2006
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 48.39 Durban (RSA) 16 APR 2005
1. 400 Metres Hurdles 49.84 Port Elizabeth (RSA) 26 APR 2003
Results in:

400 Metres Hurdles

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
10 FEB 2018 Pretoria AGN League RSARSA F F1 3. 51.21
23 FEB 2018 Pretoria AGN Ch. RSARSA F H1 4. 51.61
23 FEB 2018 Pretoria AGN Ch. RSARSA F F 2. 50.06
01 MAR 2018 Johannesburg Athletix Grand Prix Series RSARSA E F 2. 49.64
08 MAR 2018 Pretoria Athletix Grand Prix Series RSARSA E F 3. 49.45
15 MAR 2018 Pretoria South African Ch. RSARSA B H2 2. 50.31
17 MAR 2018 Pretoria South African Ch. RSARSA B F 6. 50.84
22 MAR 2018 Paarl Athletix Grand Prix Series RSARSA E F 3. 50.44
10 APR 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games AUSAUS A H3 5. 50.98


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Updated 28 July 2008

L.J. (Louis Jacobus) VAN ZYL, South Africa (400m Hurdles) 

Born 20 July 1985, Bloemfontein
1.86m / 75kg
Tuks University Athletics Club, Pretoria 
Second of three children (elder sister, younger brother); parents, Japie and Martie, competed in athletics at school level, lives on a farm in Molteno District, northern Cape Province.    


In a country where rugby claims most burly, strong and fast sportsmen at a young age, Louis van Zyl – who wants to be known as L.J. van Zyl - made what turned out to be the right decision to opt for athletics. He did so after playing rugby at South Africa’s popular annual provincial primary schools tournament.  His many track successes, and his No1 ranking by the IAAF in the 400m Hurdles before the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, have endorsed his decision.  

However, van Zyl’s failure to advance beyond the first round heats in Osaka was a major blow to him but also the best lesson he had ever learnt. It taught him to have more respect for all his opponents and now – on the eve of his first Olympics – he is much happier to be No.3 rather than the No.1 of a year ago.

Although his first names are Louis Jacobus, van Zyl has preferred to be called L.J. since he was a young schoolboy.  To him it is almost as important as success on the track.  A serious, quiet-natured and dedicated young man, he is determined to graduate in physical education in the foreseeable future and he loves to ride a horse when at home on the farm.     
 
Van Zyl’s name appeared for the first time in the RSA Athletics Annual with a time of 22.6 over 200m in October 1999. In March 2000, at 14, he improved to 22.09 in Pretoria and, in his first serious 300m Hurdles race, on the same day, he produced a South African junior record (36.83). It triggered the talent that has blossomed since.     

Yet van Zyl’s international career started on a low note. Selected to go to the 2001 IAAF World Youth Championships, in Debrecen, Hungary, and following  times of 50.84 and 51.06 over the 84cm hurdles, and 51.14A (world fastest by a 15-year-old) over the senior (91.4cm) hurdles, he went to Hungary fancied for gold. But he was disqualified in his heat for dragging his leg.  The lesson was learned - it has not happened since.    

In 2002, at 16 (one day before his 17th birthday) van Zyl became World Junior champion in 48.89, a world best for 16 and 17-year-olds and the 6th fastest by any junior. In 2003, he won the national senior title in Port Elizabeth, defeating Llewellyn Herbert, but due to a switch of coaches, and with no global junior event to aim at, his progress stalled.  

The 2004 World Junior Championships, in Grosseto, Italy, were a let-down after the dizzy heights of his 2002 triumph. Van Zyl failed to reproduce his previous form, finished 4th, and also failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics. This remains among his greatest disappointments to date.

Perhaps, though, it was a blessing in disguise. Van Zyl broke all ties with Bloemfontein and moved to Pretoria, where Hennie Kotze, a former 49.26 hurdler, became his new coach. The change was visible early in 2005 when van Zyl expressed a determination “to run in the low 48s towards the middle of the year and, most importantly, to be selected for the team to Helsinki (World Championships).” 

As soon as the second week in February, van Zyl issued warning of what could be expected when he lowered his PB to 48.54 and booked his seat to Helsinki, where he finished 6th. Earlier, he had made his return noticeable with a win at the Athens Grand Prix and he ended the year with 3rd at the World Athletics Final, in Monaco.    

With a brilliant win in 48.05 at the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne, van Zyl started 2006 in sensational fashion and went from strength to strength with second places at the World Cup, in Athens, and World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart. Towards the end of the year, he underwent a minor leg operation but, come the 2007 summer season, he would be back in form.

Victory in the Golden League, in Rome in 2007, was most impressive and he also took the All Africa Games title in Algiers, a clear warning that he should be someone to be reckoned with at the World Championships in Osaka.   His immediate targets were to medal in Osaka, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and to join the elite group of intermediate hurdlers below 48sec.    

Now, a year later, the last two of those targets are unchanged. The first went by the wayside when, through an error of judgment, he was eliminated in the first round. Coasting to the finish in first place he relaxed, lost concentration, and four athletes slipped past him.
 
Towards the end of 2007 new headaches dawned.  Firstly, with coach Kotze moving to Saudi Arabia, he had to find a new trainer. He also underwent a minor groin operation that had been troubling since Melbourne in 2006 and which delayed his 2008 competition schedule.   He considers it a success because he has become stronger. His coaching problem was solved by joining forces with Herbert’s former trainer, Nico van Heerden.   

Van Zyl made a cautious start to the domestic season with various minor placings but, come the national championships in mid March, he did enough to win the gold medal. Three fellow South Africa runners had already qualified for Beijing and van Zyl managed to book his seat only when winning the African Championship title, in Addis Ababa, in May. 

While he was consistent in most of the Golden League meetings, the highlight of van Zyl’s campaign in Europe was at the Athens Grand Prix on 13 July, which he won in 48.22 to rank No.3 in the IAAF 2008 Top Lists. He refuses to speculate about Beijing, where he will consider every race from round one onwards a new challenge.       


Personal Bests

100m: 10.3Aw (2003); 10.5A (2001)
200m: 21.10w (2005), 21.20A (2005)
400m: 46.28A (2005), 45.9 (2007)    
400m Hurdles: 48.05 (2006)


Yearly Progression

400m Hurdles: 2001: 51.14; 2002: 48.89; 2003: 49.22; 2004: 49.06; 2005: 48.11; 2006: 48.05; 2007: 48.24; 2008: 48.22.


Career Highlights

2001                3rd        World Youth Championships (medley relay)
2002                1st        World Junior Championships
2002                1st        World Schools Gymnasiade
2004                4th        World Junior Championships
2005                6th        World Championships
2005                3rd        World Athletics Final
2006                1st         Commonwealth Games
2006                2nd        Commonwealth Games (4x400m)
2006                1st         African Championships
2006                2nd        World Cup
2006                2nd        World Athletics Final
2007                1st         All Africa Games
2007                 q          World Championships (eliminated in 1st round heats)
2008                1st         African Championships


Prepared by Gert le Roux for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. ©  IAAF 2008.

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