Zeney van der Walt put her body to the ultimate test, running the 400m hurdles and 400m just over two hours apart at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Monday night. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist first booked a place in the semifinals of the 400m hurdles by finishing fifth in her heat in a time of 55.21. Only the top four gained automatic qualification, but her time was quick enough to see her through as one of the fastest losers. Not long after Van der Walt was back on the track for the 400m semifinal, where she finished in eighth place in 51.54
“I’m tired, but I’m happy to have been part of the semifinals of the 400m,” she said after completing her mammoth task for the day. Asked if she was still happy with the decision to double up in both events, she added: “Yes definitely. We’re using this as a stepping stone here in a year where I can challenge myself physically and mentally.”
As for what she did between the two races to recover, Van der Walt explained: “My coach had a recovery strategy just by keeping my legs cold, ice bath, and then just run-throughs.” Focus now shifts to Tuesday’s 400m hurdles semifinals. “I must go out and give it my all, because it’s all or nothing, so I’m looking forward to the race. It’s going to be tough but I’m in for that.”
Earlier in the evening, Miré Reinstorf found it tough going in pole vault qualification. The 21-year-old went into the event with a personal best of 4.15m – which she achieved on her way to winning the world junior title in 2021, but the opening height of the competition was set at 4.20m, which she failed to clear on all three attempts.
“I was prepared for it. I knew it was my PB by 5cm so I had to mentally prepare for that. So I told my coach yesterday, I actually forgot about the fact that it is my PB, I’m just going to go for it, give it my all,” said Reinstorf. “I really think I did, I put in a lot of work and I think there wasn’t anything else I could do and it was very close… but it was a very good experience and I think this just motivates me to work harder so that I can qualify for the next championships.”
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