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Olivier’s big Olympic boost in Monaco

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  was runner-up in 1:58.68.


3 comments
Laura Quinn
Laura Quinn

lol I did get a bit confused there Mark :-)

Mark Keohane
Mark Keohane

I am referring to Caster being flag bearer ...

Mark Keohane
Mark Keohane

Obvious choice and despite her indifferent races in build-up she will come good when it really counts.