Zazini back on track, eyes Van Zyl’s 2011 SA record

By Sthembiso Nkabinde

South African sprint sensation Sokwakhana Zazini believes he has overcome his personal problems, which have been holding him back in the past few years.

Zazini hasn’t quite hit the heights he was tipped for when he burst onto the scene as the biggest prospect in the rich history of the country’s 400m hurdling a few years ago.

The former junior world champion, who undeniably possesses immense talent, had lofty expectations on his shoulders, most of which he placed on himself.

But struggles with personal problems off the track and some niggling injuries have disturbed Zazini from flaunting his talent and performing to the best of his ability. All of that, though, is now behind the 23-year-old from the Eastern Cape and he seems to be back on track and to his brilliant best.

“I have been struggling with a lot of things previously, I had a lot of issues that I was dealing with off the track,” said Zazini.

“I think those things are now kind of behind me, my mental health is very good now. I’m at a good place at the moment.

“I have a good coach (Irma Reyneke) and my conditioning is good. I hardly get injuries and everything is just good now, the only thing I have to do is focus on athletics and run my best.”

He proved that he was indeed getting back to his best when he dished out a solid performance at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Gaborone, Botswana last month.

He set a new personal best of 48.58 seconds to finish behind American winner Trevor Bassitt (48.43) to qualify for the senior world championships in Budapest, Hungary later this year.

“It was only a matter of time [qualifying for World Champs]),” said Zazini. “I knew I only needed to focus on clearing my hurdles perfectly and keeping my composure and calmness.”

Zazini has had a good season so far and has now set his sights on breaking LJ van Zyl’s 400m hurdles record of 47.66 set in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 2011.

“The whole plan is to start chasing that SA record, anything that comes I will be up for it. Anyone who comes my way, I will be up for it.

“Im not saying I will get the SA record tomorrow or next year, but I know that anytime from now it will come. I’m working hard towards it and it will happen,” said Zazini

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