Disappointments in Bird's Nest

2008-08-22 00:00

The Bird's Nest offered no relief amid Team SA's disappointments. Javelin thrower Robert Oosthuizen failed to make it through the rain-soaked qualifying stages.

Oosthuizen's qualification was expected to be a formality after his sixth place in last year's World Championships in Osaka, but conditions particularly affected throwing by the first qualification group.

A failed first trial was followed by a disappointing 74,55 metres mark in the second round, and a best in the third trial of 76,15, well below his normal standards.

Canada's Scott Russell's opening throw of 80,42 was the best of the group, with Oosthuizen ranking only 11th in the first group.

Oosthuizen said the rain affected everyone's performance. "There were no automatic qualifiers. I'm really not too pleased with my performances. I'm not making this an excuse, as I wouldn't have made it an excuse if I had thrown 80 metres, but I have battled with flu since Monday. I wish I could do a lot better, but I will see what happens with the next group."

Athens silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was the prime bearer of South Africa's medal hopes going into the Games, but failed to progress past the 800 m semi-finals.

After a lack-lustre performance on Wednesday, the University of Johannesburg athlete, who has been complaining of flu symptoms, simply did not have his usual zip groing into the home straight.

"I went into this race very positive, but even in the first lap I lacked energy. My body was battling to move and when it came to the last 100, I could feel the tension in my body - there was no movement," said Mulaudzi.

He went into the first bend ideally positioned on the inside lane, closely trailing Brazil's Fabiano Pecanha. As Kirwa Yego moved into position on the outside, Mulaudzi covered him and followed him into the final bend, with the pair looking to have it in the bag down the home straight. But Sudan's Ahmed Ismail and Bahrain's Yusuf Kamel came storming through and Mulaudzi had nothing to give.

"Today I was feeling much better: my body was not so painful. I thought I would be able to run, but I was flat," said the dejected athlete.

Rene Kalmer finished seventh in 4:08,41, fully 17 seconds off her best, in her 1 500 m heat. Her personal and season's best was the third-slowest going into the race, making it clear that there was nothing to be gained by less than a flat-out effort in what was bound to be the fastest heat of the night.

To a huge roar, China's Qing Liu pulled the field through 400 metres in one minute 2,71 seconds with Kalmer settling in to tail the field a metre off the rear. Nancy Langat and Ukraine's Nataliya Tobias stretched the field to the line with the Kenyan taking the honours and setting the fastest time of the night in 4:03,02. Tobias was second and Britain's Lisa Dobriskey third.

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