Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
Van Zyl bounces back to win Grand Prix
Returning from an injury hiatus, Irvette van Zyl capped a superb season with a convincing victory at the fifth and final leg of the Spar Women’s Grand Prix series in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Six points clear of defending champion Lebogang Phalula in the series standings ahead of the race, Van Zyl needed to finish among the top five to give herself a chance of lifting the overall crown after she was sidelined from the fourth leg last month with a foot injury.
While Phalula put up an early fight, she eventually faded to sixth place, with Van Zyl taking no prisoners in her relentless charge.
With only Phalula and Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora able to stick to her pace up front, Van Zyl shook them off approaching the halfway mark and stormed ahead to win the 10km race in 34:58.
With the victory, she wrapped up the Grand Prix series title for the third time in her career, and the first time since 2011.
Mapaseka Makhanya, also on the comeback trail after battling with injury, charged through the field in the closing stages to grab second place in 35:46.
Makhanya confirmed after the race that she would compete at the Shanghai Marathon in China later this month.
Nyahora, who produced a brave challenge against an in-form Van Zyl, managed to hang on for third spot, a further 14 seconds off the pace.
* Full results are available in our Results section