- Debut Hawaii win for Jordy Smith
- Blitzboks skipper calls for improvement on home soil
- Runaway Test win for South Africa in India
- Olympian Stone pounces at Leopard Creek
- SA team extend lead in Indian Test
- Blitzboks blast past Kiwis to reach Dubai semi-finals
- Van Niekerk pays tribute to triumphant Bolt
- Banyana dominate but go down to Ghana in playoff
- Blitzboks bag three wins in Dubai
- International honours for Olympic coach Barrow
Olivier’s big Olympic boost in Monaco
- Updated: July 21, 2012
Of the three South African athletes in action at Friday night’s final Samsung Diamond League meeting in Monaco before the Olympic Games in London next week, there’s no doubting who would have been happiest, writes Mark Etheridge.
That would have been young Andre Olivier, who despite finishing sixth in the men’s 800-metres, ran a personal best.
Olivier, long jumper Khotso Mokoena and Caster Semenya, in the two-lapper, were the only South Africans in action.
Twenty-two-year old Olivier dipped under the 1min 45sec barrier for the first time in his career, clocking 1:44.29 and giving himself a huge boost for the Olympics which start next week.
Until Friday night Olivier’s best was the 1:45.09 he ran at African Championships in Benin a few weeks back.
The race was won by Kenya’s Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich in 1:43.13.
For Mokoena and Semenya it wasn’t quite as encouraging. Olympic silver medallist in Beijing four years ago, Mokoena ended eighth and last with a leap of 7.75 metres while Olympic champion Irving Saladino made his intentions clear with a winning leap of 8.12m.
And in the women’s 800m Semenya was second last in a field of 10.
The 2009 world champion and 2011 silver medallist, Semenya failed to break two minutes, as she ended with a 2:01.67 finish behind winner Elena Kofanova of Russia (1:58.41). African champion Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi┬á was runner-up in 1:58.68.