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Mulaudzi second in Paris

By Mark Etheridge

World 800-metre champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was once again right up there at the finish, placing second in the two-lapper event at Friday night’s IAAF Diamond League track and field meeting in Paris, France.

Mulaudzi, whose season was briefly interrupted by a training ground injury, has since bounced back in splendid fashion, holding his own against the world’s best.

Having won in New York and Madrid this season, Mulaudzi had to to settle for second best to super Sudanese athlete Abubaker Kaki who won in 1:43.50. Mulaudzi took second in 1:44.01.

The field went through the halfway mark in 49.65 and Kaki was always in control on the final lap, never allowing Mulaudzi to get his head in front.

The only other South African in action on Friday was middle-distance runner Rene Kalmer. She lined up as the slowest in the field over the 5000m race. But that was no problem for the Gauteng athlete who was only looking at going close to her personal best of 15:35.

As it turned out she was last of the 15 finishers, in 15:44:11 but she can hold her head high with a season’s best time and a successful European track circuit and a few road races in the United States. She’s already qualified for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India later this year. She is now expected to return home to prepare for the African Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

Highlights of the meeting saw Usain Bolt hold of Jamaican countryman Asafa Powell in the 100m, clocking a meeting record of 9.84sec, 0.02sec off his best for the season. Powell ran a 9.91sec for second spot.

American giant David Oliver ran the third fastest 110m hurdles time in history as he scorched to a 12.89 win. Just Dayron Robles, the Cuban world record-holder and Chinese ace Lius Xiang have gone quicker than the tattoed former grid-iron player with times of 12.87 and 12.88 respectively.

In the women’s high jump Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic held her nerve to beat American Chaunte Howard-Lowe with a 2.02m best on the night with Howard-Lowe on 2.00m.