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Mulaudzi, Kalmer in Paris

By Mark Etheridge

In-form Mbulaeni Mulaudzi will spearhead the South African challenge at Friday’s IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting in Paris, France on Friday.

The world 800-metre champion ran his season’s best of 1min 43.58sec at the last Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland a week ago where he placed second to young Kenyan David Rudisha who won in 1:43.25.

There’s no Rudisha for Mulaudzi to contend with on Friday and the South African is the second fastest in the field behind Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki, who has a season’s best 1:42.23.

Of the field only Mulaudzi and Kaki have gone under the 1:44 barrier this year.

In the women’s line-up, Rene Kalmer continues her European circuit when she goes off in the women’s 5000m. This after running the 3000m in Lausanne last weekend.

Kalmer has a 15min 35.00sec best to her name and she’ll need to go even quicker than that to leave any impression on a field that has no less than 11 athletes who have gone quicker than 15min. Fastest in the field this year is Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Ejigu’s 14:30.96.

Kalmer has no problems being the slowest on paper, going into the race. “On paper I’m the slowest in the race, but I don’t care about that, as I was one of the ‘slowest’ at the world indoors as well and I was able to sneak into the final at the end. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s 5000m. I had a good training session on Monday, so I’m very positive to improve on my PB and to go for qualifying for the Commonwealth Game in the 5000 as well.

Highlight of the meeting will no doubt be Usain Bolt’s second 100m race since his injury-enforced lay-off.

He ran 9.82sec in Lausanne last weekend, to go with his season-opening 9.86 in Daegu, Korea.

The world record-holder comes up against fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell for the first time this season. Powell was the last man to beat Bolt over 100m, in Stockholm two years ago.

But with Bolt confident of running around 9.7sec on Friday, Powell is going to have to dig deep.

Also worth watching in the short sprint will be hometown favourite Christophe Lemaitre, who less than a month after his 20th birthday dipped under the 10sec barrier with a 9.98 run in Valence.

Meanwhile South African athletes Windy Jonas, Tebogo Masehla and Oscar Pistorius were all in action in Europe on Wednesday.

Jonas ran 1:46.33 to end third in the 800m at the International de la Province de Liege meeting in Belgium. The race was won by Burundi’s Belal Mansoor in 1:45.81. At the same meeting, Masehla placed eighth in the 3000m steeplechase, clocking 10min 10.69sec behind winner St Mercy Njoroge of Kenya (9:34.28).

Pistorius meanwhile ended third in a 400m race in Nuoro, Italy. Competing at the XIV Memorial Paolo Delogu meeting the Blade Runner clocked 46.61 behind Americans Jeremy Davis (45.97) and Jamaal Torrance (46.19).

“I spoke to him after the race last night,” said agent Peet van Zyl. “He says the track wasn’t that great and he battled a bit with his blades around the bend. He wanted to go quicker but he’s not disappointed. he’ll run in Lignano (also Italy) on Sunday and we’ll see what happens there.”


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