Olympics ghosts still haunt van Zyl


Irvette van Zyl

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) IRVETTE van Zyl is still reeling from the trauma of her disappointing run at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in August.

The long-distance runner, who has suffered a series of injuries throughout her career, failed to finish the race that Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won in 2hr 27 min and 20 sec.

Van Zyl (34) had been a medal hope for South Africa, being a local champion and 50km ultramarathon world record holder, but misfortune returned to haunt her in Tokyo.

She suffered a traumatic stress fracture just before the women’s marathon in the Japanese capital city.

The Nedbank Running Club star recently resumed running and has been a regular feature at the Spar Grand Prix, which she has previously won.

Van Zyl disclosed she was using the most of the women’s only race to aid her recovery emotionally after her disappointment at the Olympics.

“The Spar races have been an important part of my mental recovery from the trauma of Tokyo,” she said.

“I am using the races as training sessions but I am just very happy to be running again, pain free. The fitness will come and I am working on my mental health,” the athlete added.

The setback in Japan was the latest in a series of mishaps for her.

Injuries have seen her contemplate quitting.

With winning not a priority, Van Zyl has been among a field that has seen Ethiopian Tadu Nare dominate the Spar Grand Prix.

The 20-year-old won the latest leg, her fifth consecutive victory of the series, at Marks Park this past weekend.

She now has an assailable total of 125 points after finishing in 33 min 20 sec.

Fellow Nedbank athlete van Zyl has 45 points and sits joint 15th.

Van Zyl has won the Spar Grand Prix three times but her fortunes this season were dismal after missing three of the races because of injury.

The sixth and final race is scheduled for Saturday in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.

– CAJ News


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