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LJ on a winning roll

LJ van Zyl is once again the talk of the town. At the third Samsung Diamond League in Rome on Thursday, the in-form Van Zyl swept aside a quality field, including two-time Olympic Champion Angelo Taylor.

Starting from lane five, Van Zyl’s new race strategy of attacking from the gun seems to be paying off as he raced away to his third sub-48sec clocking of the season. Manfred Seidler writes that before the halfway mark he had already passed 2008 Olympic silver medallist, Kerron Clemont and was breathing down the neck of the Olympic gold medallist, Angelo Taylor.

In the top bend Van Zyl was a clear metre or more in the lead and not even a late charge by Great Britain’s David Green could stop the flying Van Zyl who in the last 30m threw in another surge and opened the gap on Green. Van Zyl crossed the line in 47.91sec with Green second in 48.24 and Taylor in third (48.66sec). Van Zyl now moves on to Ostrava in the Czech Republic for the Golden Spike Meeting in the Czech Republic.

Mbauleni Mulaudzi finished second in his first 800m race of 2011 behind surprise winner Khadevis Robinson of the USA. Robinson broke clear of the pack in the final 120m with a boxed in Mulaudzi needing to barge his way out of the pack and go wide before he could attempt to chase down Robinson. But the American was never going to be caught as he crossed the line in 1.45;09 to Mulaudzi’s 1.45;50.

The South African now jets off to Dakar for the IAAF World Challenge Series Meeting in Dakar on 28 May. Having already qualified for the World Championships courtesy of being the defending champion, Mulaudzi is looking to race himself into the shape that saw him win the title in 2009.

Sunette Viljoen finished sixth in the women’s javelin throw. Her opening round of 60.61m a season’s best for the South African. Mariya Abakumova won the competition in a world Leading 65.40m ahead of Germany’s Christina Obergfoll (63.97m) and Olympic Champion Barbora Spotakova (63.32m).


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