SA’s Olivier ‘hungry to catch Rudisha’

2012-08-07 10:31

South Africa’s 800m specialist Andre Olivier is hungry for a place in the final at the Olympics.

Olivier’s third-place finish in his heat yesterday, in a time of 1:46.42, earned him a place in the semifinal tonight (from 8.55pm SA time).

Two-lap title favourite David Rudisha of Kenya, who ran the four fastest 800m times in the world this year – including a world-leading mark of 1:41.54 set in New York in April – cruised to victory in his heat in 1:45.90.

Despite Rudisha looming large at London 2012, 22-year-old Olivier said he also fancied his chances of making the final on Thursday (9pm).

“There are hungry guys out there to catch him. And if he (Rudisha) is one of them in the final, I’m hungry (for him),” said Olivier who boasts a personal best 1:44.29.

Describing his performance during the heats, he said the race was fast and only eased in the last 100m.

“The American guy (Duane Solomon) made it quick in the first 400m but it became easy for us in the last 100.

The plan was to follow the pace and if it was slow, I had to do something special on the back straight.”

Olivier went into the race yesterday with the second-fastest time this season after Solomon.

The two recorded their personal bests during the IAAF Diamond League meet in France last month.

In that event in Monaco, Olivier clocked 1:44.29 for a sixth-place finish while Solomon came third in 1:43.44.

“The semis are going to be tough. The pace could be slow – if it’s fast, then I’ll wait for the last 100m (to press harder),” said Olivier, adding that the atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium was unbelievable.

“I first came here to watch LJ (van Zyl, in the 400m hurdles on Friday) and I couldn’t believe it. To run in front of 80 000 fans was amazing.”

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