Originally aiming to better Marcello Fiascanaro’s fastest time of 1min 45.2sec on the Potchefstroom track on Saturday, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi faces injury worries.
The world 800m champion had his sights set on Fiascanaro’s time set back in 1973 — no-one has run faster at this venue since — but at this stage of the season self-preservation is key and now says he might not race at the season opening Yellow Pages Series athletics meeting in Potchefstroom.
Mulaudzi told Sapa on Friday he had picked up a minor hamstring injury in training and would decide in the morning if he would race in the afternoon. ÔÇ£It will depend on how I feel in the morning. I’ll run for about 20 minutes and do a few strides,ÔÇØ Muladuzi said.
ÔÇ£The injury is not serious but I’ll see how it goes. It’s going to be a long season and I don’t want to take any risks.ÔÇØ
The hamstring strain was not a recurrence of the injury he picked up last year that kept him out of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. ÔÇ£It’s the same leg but it’s not the same injury. It’s much lower down in my hamstring,ÔÇØ he said.
The 30-year-old said he hoped to have his best ever domestic season, with three Yellow Pages meetings on his schedule. ÔÇ£I’ve had good base training and I’m on track for a good season,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£I want to run fast times in local races and I think I can do so this year.
ÔÇ£My best time in South Africa is a 1:44.6, and I’d like to run faster than that this season.ÔÇØ
South Africa’s other world 800m champion, Caster Semenya, will continue to build on her preparation for the European season in the women’s two-lap event.
Semenya competed at a low-key club meeting in Pretoria last month, and in Potchefstroom she will get a chance to test herself against some solid opposition.
Her coach, Michael Seme, said the main goal was to confirm his charge had recovered fully from a back injury that kept also kept her from competing at the Commonwealth Games. ÔÇ£She’s not going for a fast time. The aim is for her to finish the race,ÔÇØ Seme said.
ÔÇ£We want to make sure her back is ok before she can push for faster times.ÔÇØ
National 800m champion Mapaseka Makhanya will lead the charge from the rest of the field as they attempt to hand Semenya her first loss on South African soil in three years.