Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
17 May 2014
1:00 pm

Olivier’s podium plan

Wesley Botton

Eager to bounce back from a relatively disappointing international season opener, 800m runner Andre Olivier hopes to step on the podium at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, China tomorrow.

FILE PICTURE: Andre Olivier of NWU-Pukke wins the 800m race during the Varsity Athletics Challange from the University of Pretoria on April 29, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Olivier was seventh at the first Diamond League meeting of the year in Doha, Qatar last week, crossing the line in 1:45.39, less than a second behind Ethiopian winner Mohammed Aman in a blanket finish.

Olivier, fellow middle-distance specialist Johan Cronje and discus thrower Victor Hogan had arrived in the Qatari capital on the morning of the event after their flight from Johannesburg was turned round due to mechanical issues.

“I went through halfway in just under 52 (seconds) in Doha and it felt like we were going flat out,” Olivier said before he left for China on Thursday.

“I think it was the result of a lack of sleep because we were kept up for two nights in a row.

“But these things happen and I still ran a season’s best (outdoors) so I can take something positive out of the race.

“We’re arriving in Shanghai two days before the meeting so we should be able to get some decent rest, and I’d like to finish in the top three.”

One-lap hurdler LJ van Zyl, the only other South African competing in Shanghai, hopes to build on the resurgent form he found in the domestic season.

Van Zyl clocked 48.96 seconds in Sasolburg in March, his fastest time since the 2011 season when he twice achieved the SA record of 47.66 seconds.

“I’m not in the same shape as in 2011 but I’m definitely feeling better than I did at this time last year and in 2012.”

“I think I’m getting back to my best shape and I’d like to work my way up to 47 seconds this season,” he said.