Mulaudzi denies injury report
Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - South African two-lap specialist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi has denied a media report that an injury could derail his London Olympic Games ambitions.
A media report on Thursday indicated that Mulaudzi was forced out of a few international meetings, owing to injury, which could keep him out of the Games.
Mulaudzi said he was scheduled to race at this weekend's Shanghai Diamond League meeting but had to withdraw due to illness.
"I was supposed to run in Shanghai but I got flu and I will be running in Ostrava [next week]," Mulaudzi said.
The veteran middle-distance athlete had been plagued by injuries since he won a gold medal at the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin.
Achilles and hamstring problems prevented him from defending his title at last year's global championships in Daegu.
Mulaudzi appeared in only two races in the domestic season and has yet to record an Olympic qualifying time.
The 31-year-old, however, came close to reaching the qualifying mark of 1:45.60 on both occasions.
At the Yellow Pages Series meeting in Potchefstroom, he missed the qualifying standard by 0.81 seconds, and at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth he came even closer, missing the mark by 0.18.
Despite last year's setbacks, Mulaudzi was certain he would be able to consistently break through the qualifying barrier in his next three meetings.
"I'm confident and it is going to be a good and fast race," Mulaudzi said of the meeting in Ostrava.
World 800m record holder David Rudisha of Kenya threw down the gauntlet at last week's Diamond League meeting in Doha when he clocked a fast 1:43.10.
Mulaudzi, however, said he felt no pressure to run quick times at this stage of the season.
"It is still maybe early and I'll be getting into quick races," he said.
"It has been very competitive and so far they have been fast races [internationally]."
After Ostrava, Mulaudzi will race in both the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, and the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City in June.
Boasting a personal best time of 1:42.86, which he set in Rieti in 2009, Mulaudzi felt he could easily reach the qualifying standard.
He also looked forward to running against a strong field that would pull him towards faster times, rather than dragging the rest of the field through, as he does in South Africa.
"For me, at the moment, it is great to get into a race and follow someone rather being chased," he said.
"I need to run the qualifying times in all those three meetings and that will be good for me."