Mulaudzi turns down World Indoors, focuses on local races

2012-02-25 15:04

Last year was a frustrating season for him but he is fully recovered now

Former 800m world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi has turned down an invitation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) so he can focus on domestic track and field events.

Mulaudzi has opted not to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Turkey next month and take baby steps towards gaining race fitness after almost eight months on the sidelines.

The event will take place in Instanbul from March 9 to 11 and Athletics South Africa will announce the team tomorrow.

Mulaudzi won silver medals in the 2006 (in Russia) and 2008 (Spain) World Indoor editions.

“Last year was a frustrating season for me but I am fully recovered now,” he said this week.

“I was invited but I chose not to take part. I want to compete at home and gain my race fitness gradually.

“My experience with injuries has taught me to be clever in my training now.”

The 31-year-old two-lap race specialist’s career has been dogged by injuries in the last four years (see graphic).

“I will begin my season in two weeks’ time but I will sit down with my manager, Peet van Zyl, to confirm the exact events in which I will compete.”

Mulaudzi missed the 2011 local season due to a hamstring injury, a setback that also forced him to surrender the IAAF World Championships title he won in 2009.

The “Bullet”, as the Limpopo-born runner is known, competed in just three international races last season.

He finished second in 1:45.50 during the IAAF Diamond League in Italy in May, a mark that was well within the men’s Olympic A-standard qualifier of 1:45.60.

The qualifying window period opened in May last year and the cut-off date is June 30.

But Mulaudzi says – under the scrutiny of his coach JP van der Merwe – a lot of speed work has been done in the past four months.

He said there was no pressure on him to clock the fast times just yet.

“I started training in October last year. I hope to run in the Yellow Pages in two weeks’ time. I will just pace myself reasonably and the times will come.

“The big thing for me this year is the Olympics and I want to finish on that podium.”

» Khotso Mokoena (long jump), Lehann Fourie (60m hurdles) and Elroy Gelant (3 000m) have all qualified for the World Indoor Championships. 

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