High hopes for Olivier
André Olivier (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - South African 800m ace Andre Olivier’s consistent performances against top international athletes have instilled the belief he can compete against the best in the world.
Olivier will hope to continue this form when he lines up at the eighth stop of the Diamond League series in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday.
The London Olympics semi-finalist has made steady progress, dipping below one minute, 45 seconds (1:45), five times this season.
He ran his best race of the season at the Rome Diamond League meeting in early June where he finished third in a time of 1:44.37 which was 0.08 seconds slower than his personal best.
Olivier’s coach Jean Verster said the aim was for his charge to be consistent and they would now be looking for improvements in his times.
"He has now consistently run 1:45s and we are sure a 1:43 is around the corner," Verster said.
"We still have a lot to work [to do] but his speed will now start to improve and of course all the races help to get him racing fit."
The South African is third on the overall Diamond League standings in the men’s 800m with three points, which he obtained from finishing second at the Birmingham meeting on Sunday, and his third-place finish in Rome.
Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman is at the top of the standings on 10 points, with world record holder David Rudisha of Kenya in second place on eight points.
Olivier will be the only South African athlete participating in Lausanne where he will line-up against Aman and training partner and London Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana.
Verster said their preparations for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August -- where they were aiming for a finals berth -- were on track.
"With a few more races, a bit of speed and explosive training he should be sharper for Moscow, but it will also be important that he is rested before the world championships."