Last stop for Khotso, Caster
Johannesburg - Khotso Mokoena, Caster Semenya and Andre Olivier will compete at the 9th leg of the Samsung Diamond League in Herculis, Monaco on Friday night before the start of the athletics leg of the Olympic Games on 3 August.
Mokoena finished third in London a week ago with a marginal difference in distance between the Olympic silver medallist and the top two.
Mitchell Watt from Australia recorded his best performance of the season (8.28m) for the win, with Great Britain’s Chris Tomlinson in second. Tomlinson also jumped his best of the season with 8.26m. Mokoena’s 8.26m secured him the third position.
But Mokoena could face even stronger competition as Germany’s Sebastian Bayer is set to compete on Friday night. He has jumped 8.34m on two occasions (29 June and 1 July) in Helsinki to win the European Championships, his best performance of the season.
Also the 21 year-old US Champion, Marquise Goodwin, recorded a personal best of 8.33m at the US Olympic trials in Eugene on 24 June. This will be the last competition for most before heading to London for the Olympics.
Several athletes competing tonight have dipped below the 1:58 mark in the women’s 800m where SA Champion and 2009 World Champion, Caster Semenya, will compete.
The fastest of them all this season, is Alysia Montano from USA. Montano has only competed in four 800m events this season and recorded 1:57.37 at her first race on 1 June in Eugene, USA.
She won the Olympic Trials on 25 June in 1:59.08. Russia’s Irina Maracheva has only dipped under the 2 min mark twice this season, one being a personal best of 1:57.82 on 27 May in Sochi, Russia.
She has however not been able to break the 2 minute mark again in four races since the end of June. Another Russian, Yelena Kofanova, recently ran a personal best of 1:57.77 at the Russian Championships on 3 July.
Semenya improved her best time of the season on 6 July in Bottrop, Germany where she won the race in 1:59.18. Friday, however, won’t be the destination, but rather the journey to the 21 year-old’s first Olympic Games in London.
Andre Olivier will also use Monaco to sharpen up for the Games, after running a personal best of 1:45.09 at the Africa Senior Championships in Benin on 29 June.
The 22 year-old will face a strong field which will include former World Indoor Champion, Abubaker Kaki (SUD), as well as Kenyan athletes Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich and Leonard Kosencha. Their best times this season are 1:43.15 and 1:43.60 respectively.