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Olivier romps to World challenge victory

Middle-distance runner Andre Olivier changed gears in South Africa's global track and field campaign on Wednesday, as he dominated the two-lap race at the Beijing World Challenge in China.


“I’m very happy about the win,” Olivier said after he outsmarted the field in the men’s 800m event.

The South African sat back and allowed former world youth champion Leonard Kosencha of Kenya, who eventually faded to last place, take up the hard work on the second lap after pace-maker Eliud Rutto dropped out at the bell.

Olivier surged ahead with 80 metres remaining and left his opponents to fight for second place as he cruised to victory in 1:44.88.

It was the first win by a South African in a major international league meeting on the outdoor circuit this season.

Erik Sowinski of the United States took second position in 1:45.68, and Edwin Meli of Kenya was a further 0.19 seconds back in third.

Olivier was just outside his season’s best of 1:44.85, set at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on Sunday, where he finished third, and he was 0.56 seconds off his two-year-old career record.

He said he was confident of building on his fine form in Europe next month, after returning home for a week, as he prepared to take another step forward in his 2014 season, which already includes an impressive 1:44.99 indoor debut in Birmingham in February and a respectable fourth place at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot the following month.

“The [fast] times will come. I was in control of the race [in Beijing] and that was the goal,” he said.

Sapa

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