Van Zyl plans to wipe Rio tears by finishing in Japan

Elite runner failed to complete 42.2km marathon in Rio

21 July 2021 - 08:32
By Charles Baloyi
Irvette van Zyl smashed the 50km world record when she came in first in a time of 3: 04: 23, at the Nedbank Runfied 50km race.
Image: Werner Hills Irvette van Zyl smashed the 50km world record when she came in first in a time of 3: 04: 23, at the Nedbank Runfied 50km race.

Prominent long-distance runner Irvette van Zyl has an unfinished business at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

In the Rio 2016 Olympics, the 34-year-old Nedbank Running Club star failed to finish her 42.2km marathon due to injury. Her main goal is to complete the race and take it from there, and she is better prepared to face that challenge.

The three-time Soweto Marathon champion will line up in the streets of Sapporo in Japan on August 7 for the women's marathon. She will be in the company of her teammate Gerda Steyn, and she told Sowetan that she is hoping to have a memorable race.

“The goal is to finish the race and give it my all. My coach Nick tells me to work hard and focus on the goal. I will be running with Gerda, and I hope that the two of us will enjoy the race," said Van Zyl.

Van Zyl qualified for the Olympics in Italy in April. She clocked 2:28:40 to finish in 13th place in the Xiamen Sienna, Tuscany Elite Camp Marathon Siena.

She said her retired 400m hurdles husband, LJ van Zyl, is doing a good job taking care of their two kids as she prepares for the Olympics. “LJ is a loving husband and supports me and knows how much I want to run at the Olympics" added Van Zyl.

Respected athletics coach Hendrick Ramaala will coach the marathon team in Tokyo.