Tuks’ 800m athlete, Rynardt van Rensburg, will have specific numbers in mind from next year when he challenges the stopwatch.
“The aim is to consistently run times of one minute and 44 seconds or faster. It ought to be good enough to ensure I am up there with the front runners.”
It is a doable challenge Van Rensburg had set himself. In 2018 in the Netherlands he ran a personal best time of 1:45.15. Unfortunately, his big breakthrough has not yet happened. Since then regularly as clockwork as he has got close to reaching a peak, only to be sidelined by injuries. Towards the end of last year, he was slowed down by a hip injury. It meant frustration got a new meaning.
The Tuks athlete is sort of grateful for the national lockdown. For the first time, his body had ample time to recover as he did not train for two months. He, however, made the most of the time away from the track – his Xbox gaming skills have drastically improved!
Van Rensburg is still contemplating what race tactics will work for him. As a junior, he liked to race from the front, but when he started running against the ‘elder statesmen’ he opted for a more tactical approach. What confuses him slightly is that the day he ran his personal best time he was racing from the front.
“Perhaps it is best not to overthink a race and take each race as it comes. When racing in Europe, it does not help to try and run from the front as usually there is a pacemaker for the first 400 metres. Leaving it too late banking on your ‘kick’ is also a mistake. Nowadays every 800m-athlete can accelerate over the last 150 metres fo the race.”
The Tuks athlete has completed his degree in marketing [at University of the Free State], but for now, he opted to rather coach at Hoërskool Garsfontein. It is something he is genuinely passionate about doing.
“High school coaches tend to push their athletes often too hard as it is all about winning medals. I can’t entirely agree with this approach. For me, it will always be about the ‘bigger picture’. I try and inspire younger athletes to be in love with the sport. If I can succeed, it hopefully will mean that they will still be competing at a senior level.”
Van Rensburg has represented South Africa at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and claimed the national title in 2017 in Potchefstroom.
ATHLETE PROFILE Rynardt van Rensburg
Full name: Rynardt van Rensburg
Born: 23/3/1992 in Kroonstad
Athletics discipline: 800m (personal best: 1:45.15 – 2018)
Varsity Athletics history: 2013-18
Studied: BA Marketing (2013-18)
Article courtesy Wilhelm de Swardt/TuksSport Media