• Charles Baloyi

Van Zyl considers withdrawing from AGN Elections

SA athletics legend LJ van Zyl may withdraw his nomination from the Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) elections at the last minute. Although he has an unbelievable passion for the sport, the decorated athlete is a busy man with a hectic schedule. The 35-year-old father of two already has a Masters Degree in Education and serves on a commission at Athletics South Africa (ASA). As if that isn't enough, van Zyl is also a lecturer at the University of Pretoria's Groenkloof Campus and is completing a second Masters at the German Sport University.

Insiders at the University of Pretoria said the SA 400m hurdles record holder told them that he could pull out from his nomination due to his demanding schedule. “LJ is involved in many things ASA, SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), Tuks as a mentor, he's a lecturer and he is doing his masters. He told me that he would withdraw his nomination. He told us (Tuks) to nominate him for a position that would not demand too much of his time as he is a busy man. LJ does not want to be a chairperson as it could be too difficult for him. He needs to be there physically while he has many commitments to take care of apart from the AGN position. Talk to him to find out about his hectic schedule," said a Tuks senior official.


Tuks athlete of the century LJ van Zyl is now a lecturer at his beloved alma mater while studying towards a second Masters Degree at the German University of Sport. Photo Credit: LJ van Zyl.

When #TheTopRunner approached the legend for comment about his nomination at the AGN elections, Van Zyl said he was caught in a difficult situation. He would like to serve but at the same time admitted that his demanding schedule could stand in his way. However, he refused to rule himself out of the position and said he would decide later this week.


“I saw my name on the nomination list and I thought it's fantastic, I have a lot on my plate though. I have to try to balance things out. I serve Tuks athletics and my Master's degree from the German University is keeping me busy. I have too much on my plate, but a part of me tells me to go ahead and accept the nomination, as I love the athletes and the sport too much. I have been in athletics for almost 20 years and cannot imagine myself away from it. I would be happy to be a vice-chair as it could afford me time to focus on my things," Van Zyl told the Top Runner.


Commonwealth Games gold medalist LJ van Zyl says his busy schedule may prevent him from representing athletes on the AGN Board. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist is contesting the Athletes Commission position which is currently held by Hendrick Mokganyetsi. The eagerly awaited elections will take place at the Pilditch Stadium in Tshwane on Saturday. 209 members are expected to cast their votes to elect the new AGN board. There are eleven places reserved in the new board and the demand for this year's election is bigger than in previous years.


The World Championship bronze medalist is up against Lukhanyo Mabinza - Eyethu AC, Mariam Mooki - Department of Correctional Services Pretoria, Hendrick Mokganyetsi - Department of Correctional Services Pretoria, Mulalo Mammburu - Faranani AC, Enoch Skhosana - Nedbank AC, Zintle Mokoka - SGR AC, Peter Nteo -Cultivation AC, Dan Koane - Ford AC, Mooki PM - Correctional Service and John Mathane - Mamelodi AC who are also hoping to be elected to the Athletes Commission.


LJ with his wife Irvette and two sons. Photo Credit: Van Zyl Family.

LJ, who is married to the three-time Soweto Marathon champion Irvette van Zyl, admitted that he has a lot on his plate. He is also a devoted father and family man. “Irvette will run the 5000m race in Cape Town this week and I have to take care of the kids. I must be a father and a supportive husband. Let's see what will happen at the end of the week," Van Zyl added.

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