News24

Mulaudzi favours underdog tag

2011-06-29 18:41

Johannesburg - South African world 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi is comfortable without the favourite tag in his build-up to the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August.

Mulaudzi's mentor Hezekiel Sepeng on Wednesday said he was happy with his athlete's progress despite his late start to the season. The athlete had been sidelined since August last year when he suffered an Achilles tendon injury and he only ran his first race in April.

Mulaudzi will make an appearance at the seventh leg of the Diamond League in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday.

"Unfortunately we could not spend more time on training as we only had two months before his first race in Rome," said Sepeng.

The 30-year-old Mulaudzi ran a season's best time of one minute and 45.50 seconds (1:45.50) at the Rome Compeed Golden Gala meeting in May.

Sepeng said he was nonetheless satisfied with his charge's progression and they weren't looking for world beating times yet.

He said they would be satisfied if Mulaudzi could run a 1:44min race on Thursday.

"In previous years he also didn't start out that well but he peaked close to the world championships to win the title," he said.

The coach said Mulaudzi still needed more race time but was encouraged with his performances compared to world 800m record holder David Rudisha who ran a season's best time of 1:43.46sec.

Sepeng pointed out that Rudisha had also only recently recovered from a three-month injury lay-off and they were in no hurry to reach the world leading times just yet.

Mulaudzi will line-up with the likes of 2007 world champion Alfred Yego of Kenya, European champion Marcin Lewandowski and 1500m Olympic champion Absel Kiprop.

Meanwhile, South African world 800m women's champion Caster Semenya will run in the 1500m as part of her plan to run both the 800m and 1500m at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Semenya will look to improve on her personal best time of four minutes and 08.01 seconds (4:08.01).

Her fiercest competition will come from Maryan Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain and Kalkidan Gezahenge of Ethiopia, who have both run four minute races this season.

Former South African men's 400m champion Cornel Fredericks will race in his second Diamond League meeting of the year in Switzerland.

The 21-year-old and compatriot LJ van Zyl are among the season’s leading athletes in this discipline.

His season’s best of 48.14 which he ran at the South African championships in April is the fastest in the field.

Van Zyl said he pulled out of the meeting because he needed four weeks of training before the world championships.

He remains the only one-lap hurdler to run below 48 seconds this season and also leads the 400m hurdles Diamond League race with eight points.

He is followed by Javier Culson of Puerto Rico on four points while Fredericks is in fifth place on three points on the overall standings.

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