Olivier third in heat and through to 800m semi-finals | SASCOC - SASCOC

Olivier third in heat and through to 800m semi-finals

By Mark Etheridge in London

Boosted by a crowd of 80,000 roaring spectators, Andre Olivier cruised through to the semi-finals of the men’s 800-metre track event on Monday morning.

Olivier took a comfortable third place in the seventh and final heat, clocking 1min 46.42 seconds as US indoor champion Duane Solomon won in 1:46.05 in a photo finish from Dutchman Robert Lathouwers.

The leaders hit the bell in a quick 50.36sec and Olivier was content to sit comfortably in third which was all he needed.

First three in each of the seven heats went through automatically to Tuesday’s semi-finals with the final scheduled for Wednesday.

“It was a nice fast race and the US guy took it out out nice and fast which made it easy for us,” said Potchefstroom’s Olivier.

“My plan was to just follow the pace and take it from there and it all worked out well today. I was watching on the big screen as we came down the straight and just did what was needed.

“Looking ahead though, the semi-finals are going to be tough and I’ll need something special down the back-straight.”

Speaking of the Olympic experience and Olivier’s eyes lit up. “A crowd of 80,000 for the morning heats. How amazing is that? I watched LJ’s heats and the crowd was as big but it’s different actually being on the track itself… the noise! And it’s good because you can feed off that energy in a good way.”

“I’m actually a bit surprised by the time because I came in easily. I’m in good shape now with no niggles and I feel a personal best is definitely within me.”

That personal best stands at 1:44.29 which he ran in Monaco a week before the Games got underway.

And on the final where the all-conquering Kenyan David Rudisha is expected to lie in wait.?

“Sure, he’s the man to beat but there are eight guys in the final and this is not the Diamond League, this is a championship event and he’s going to have to go hard in that final.”

Rudisha clocked 1:45.90 to win the second heat on Monday.

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