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Visser flies to personal best in Switzerland
- Updated: August 30, 2013
Zarck Visser got the jump on the world’s best long jumpers to take gold at Thursday night’s IAAF Diamond League┬á in Zurich, writes Mark Etheridge.
He may not have made the final of the recent World Championships in Moscow but he found his form on this occasion, a personal best of 8.32 metres giving him gold to take the title ahead of countryman Khotso Mokoena, who did make the final in Moscow.
The Free Stater, featured in a recent Road to Rio magazine, leapt in excess of eight metres with all of his first three efforts.
Mokoena’s 8.11 (he has a personal best of 8.50) was good for silver on the night. Before Thursday’s personal best, Visser’s longest leap was 8.15m which he jumped last year.
The long jumpers were the pick of the South Africans in action although World Championships bronze medallist Johan Cronje also held his own despite only ending eighth in the men’s 1500m.
Cronje was one of 17 starters as Kenyan Silas Kiplagat took the gold in 3min 30.97sec. Cronje spent much of the race at the back of the field as the leaders went through the bell in 2:34. Despite ending three seconds off the pace, his time was not far off his personal best of 3:33.46 seat earlier this year.
He also beat World Championships silver medallist Matthew Centrowitz who was 12th in 3:36.07 on Thursday.
World champion Asbel Kiprop was two places ahead of Cronje in sixth spot (3:33.78).
“Really did not have a good race today,” said Cronje afterwards. “I cannot complain doing a 3:34 but I know I can should have gone much faster… Hate this feeling of ‘I could have done better!’
In the javelin World Championships finalist Sunette Viljoen’s 62.01m saw her take fourth spot behind Russia’s Mariya Abakumova (68.94).
And 2009 world champion and 2011 runner-up Caster Semenya came out of ‘hibernation’ to run the 800m but still looks a pale shadow of the athlete who won silver at last year’s Olympic Games in London.
She battled from the gun and when the leaders heard the bell at 57.98sec she was second last, with only local athlete Selina B├╝chel behind her. Until last night the Swiss athlete had failed to break 2:05 for the two-lapper.
There was no customary strong finish from Semenya and she crossed the line in 2:01.83 with B├╝chel bringing up the rear in a personal best of 2:01.99.
Kenya’s Eunice Sum won in 1:58.82 from Olympic champion Mariya Savinova (1:58.93).