Mulaudzi third in Monaco | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mulaudzi third in Monaco

By Mark Etheridge

Our world 800-metre champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi had to settle for third spot behind Sudanese star Abubaker Kaki at Thursday evening’s IAAF Diamond League track and field meeting in Monaco.

Although Mulaudzi ran a far better tactical race than in his last outing where he got stuck in slow traffic, he was again unable to match Kaki’s end effort. Mulaudzi seemed slow to get into his stride but after a quick first lap of 49.40 and then hitting the 600m mark in 1:16:11, he was right on Kaki’s heels.

But try as he might he just couldn’t close the gap as Kaki went on to win in 1min 43.10sc. Mulaudzi was then also pipped on the line by fast-finishing Kenyan Boaz Lalang, both being credited with the same time of 1:43.29.

Mulaudzi’s run was still the pick of the South Africans in action on Thursday. Most of the African athletes in action now head home to fine-tune for the African Championships in Nairobi, Kenya next week.

Commonwealth Games champion LJ Van Zyl would certainly not have been happy with his form in the 400m hurdles on Thursday.

Granted he was up against the usual American big guns but his time of 49.58sec would have rankled, especially as he and coach Hennie Kotze were confident that he would run around a 48sec. The win went to Bershawn Jackson in 47.78 from US compatriot Angelo Taylor (47.79).

In the 110m hurdles, giant David Oliver was out to break the world record on a newly refurbished track and a slight tail wind setting him up perfectly. But after having gone ever so close to Dayron Robles’ 12.87 world mark last week, he had to settle for 13.01 and the meeting record on Thursday.

Our two South African women in action were Commonwealth javelin champion Sunette Viljoen and the versatile Rene Kalmer.

Viljoen was first in action but battled to get going and most unusually, after opening with a 59.19m effort, was unable to crack the 60m barrier in her six throws. Her fourth effort proved to be her best, the javelin pegging at 59.93m.

This after a good week in training that saw her consistently hitting the 60m mark and further. Still, her best throw was good for third behind the world recordholder Barbora Spotakova who won in 65.76 and Kara Patterson (US) who hit 64.21. Spotakova’s winning effort came with her second throw and she packed it after that, favouring a troublesome elbow.

Viljoen still finds herself in third spot in the Diamond League race though.

Kalmer was up against a top-notch field in the 3000m and she can hold her head high after running 8:52.28 in a race that saw tiny Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu burst clear over the final 200m to win in a world-leading 8:28.41. Four of the field set personal bests with US runner Shannon Rowbury’s 8:31.38 for third particularly impressive. Kalmer can take heart from the fact that she improved on her 8:59.48 she ran in Lausanne two weeks ago.

“I’m satisfied, it is better than Paris. I’ve been battling with low iron the last three weeks, so that makes sense why Paris didn’t go too well,” said Kalmer. “Time to come home, even if it’s just for the weekend and then off to Kenya! It’s been a long season and I’m happy with it, although the last couple of races didn’t really go as I hoped for.”

In other highlights of the evening, Silas Kiplagat won the 1500m in an impressive season-leading 3:39.27 and looked quite relaxed to boot and Tyson Gay’s 19.72 win in the 200m equalled the season’s second quickest time.

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