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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

Series29 Sep 2014

Work, rest and play – Cornel Fredericks


Cornel Fredericks after winning the 400m hurdles at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich (© Jean-Pierre Durand)

Cornel Fredericks enjoyed a memorable 2014 season after securing men’s 400m hurdles titles at the Commonwealth Games, African Championships and, most recently, the IAAF Continental Cup just two weeks ago.

The South African reveals a little of his world by answering our work, rest and play questions.

Cornel at work

What is your favourite training session?

Cornel Fredericks: I have no specific session. I like training. For me, I like to train hard so it makes the races easier for me. If I run a race without that feeling of dizziness and lactic, it shows training has gone well.

What is your least favourite training session?

CF: I prefer the shorter sessions. I don’t like the 500s or 600s, although if you compete in 400m hurdles you have to put up with that type of training otherwise you will not be able to run the times that you want.

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

CF: I like the travelling, meeting new people, and I also like the feeling of making people in my country proud of track and field.

Who is your favourite training partner?

CF: I used to train with a 400m sprinter called Shaun de Jager (personal best 45.66). As athletes we were at a similar level and we would push each other and motivate each other during training. I haven’t seen Shaun as much since moving from Stellenbosch to Pretoria, but we are still good friends.

Where is your favourite training venue?

CF: I sometimes train in Gemona, Italy, which is an awesome place to train. It is a small town with no distractions. It allows me to really focus on training.

Cornel at rest

Describe your perfect day without training.

CF: I have a few friends who have a guest house in South Africa, where I stay every now and then. There I would grab an ice cream or pizza and watch a movie.

What is your favourite stress reliever?

CF: When I’m back home in Cape Town I like to hang out at Sea Point, a small suburb by the beach. I might take a walk along the beach. The surf and the waves really help to calm me down.

If you could pick any other athlete in the world with whom to relax, who would it be?

CF: My icon is Felix Sanchez. I look up to him because he comes from a small island and he has proved if you believe in yourself anything is possible. He has always given me a lot of advice. Off the track we are good friends and I’d like to spend more time with him.

What TV shows do you like to relax to?

CF: I like the investigative shows like Criminal Minds. My mum is a social worker at a prison in the Western Cape and she has to deal a lot with this kind of stuff. It interests me a lot.

What is your favourite meal to relax to?

CF: I like to have roast veggies and chicken. I like to eat healthily.

Cornel at play

When did your passion for theme parks begin?

CF: When I’m at a theme park, it is a very different atmosphere to track and field. It relieves a lot of stress. I love the rides that twist and turn and go up in the air. One of my favourite theme parks is Rantanga Junction in Cape Town. I first went there when I was 12 years old, when I was finally allowed to go on the adult rides!

Do you have a favourite ride?

CF: My favourite ride is called The Cobra. The ride is done in about 40-50 seconds, but it is a great thrill (a similar time period to a 400m hurdles).

How often do you go to theme parks?

CF: I go about once a month, especially when I’m just in training and not racing. I tend to go to the Gold Reef City Theme Park in Johannesburg.

Which theme park in the world would you most like to go to?

CF: Probably Disneyland Paris

Which athlete do you think would most enjoy hanging out at theme parks with you for a day?

CF: Jehue Gordon, the current world 400m hurdles champion. He’d be one guy who would love to do the fun stuff outside of track and field.

Steve Landells for the IAAF