Hanekom crossed the line in 48.81 seconds to take victory in the 400m hurdles. Photo: @lindzor93 on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Lindsay Hanekom made history with a breathtaking victory in the men’s 400m hurdles at the SA Athletics Championships in Germiston over the weekend.

Hanekom crossed the line in 48.81 seconds, the first time an SA hurdler dipped under the 49-second barrier since LJ van Zyl in 2016.

According to Hanekom and his housemate, Sokwakhana Zazini talked about how 400m-hurdling in South Africa seems to be stagnating. 

Lindsay Hanekom in action on the track. Photo: Reg Caldecott

“We agreed that the onus was on us to revive South Africa's proud legacy in the 400m-hurdles. We psyched each other up by saying that currently, it seems as if the world's best hurdlers were getting faster and faster while we as South Africans seem to be slower,” said Hanekom.

“A natural conclusion from this was that we started teasing each other who would be the first to dip under 49 seconds. I was adamant that it was going to be me, while 'Socks' insisted it would be him. That I ended being the one to do so will always be one of my most special athletics memories.”

The former World Junior and Youth Champion, Zazini, was second in 49.33 which is 0.01 off his personal best time of 49.32s. Cornel Fredericks was third in 49.87s.

Hanekom has another reason why it is so important this season for him to run fast times. 

Last year's inaugural IAAF World Cup meeting in London was a massive disappointment for him. He was last in 54.28.

“I won't lie it hurt, but it also motivated me. I had something to prove which led to me having a serious to talk with my coach, Nico van Heerden. I realised that things could not keep on going as they were. Every time just as I seem to be finding some form I got injured.

“I got to give credit to coach Nico. He changed my training program with the focus more on quality than quantity. We realised that I was not able to train like most other athletes because if I did, there would always be a real injury risk.

For the first time, I also started doing strength and conditioning training.” 

African News Agency (ANA)