By Mark Etheridge
Fourth spot in the 800-metre final by Andre Olivier was the best South African result of the weekend at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.
Olivier, still relatively inexperienced on the indoor circuit, initially placed fifth in 1min 47.31sec in the frantic finish but third placed Pole Marcin Lewandowski was later disqualified.
Mohammed Aman, who has been involved in some great tussles with Olivier in the last year, took gold. The Ethiopian’s time was 1:46.40.
Also in final action was 3000m ace Elroy Gelant. Also a finalist in this event at the last World Indoor Championships, Gelant spent most of the 15 laps at the tail of the field but moved up smartly at the death to end seventh of 12 finalists in 7:57.31 as Kenyan’s Caleb Ndiku won in 7:54.91.
The initial pace was pedestrian with an opening 400m of 68.33 during which time no less than five athletes headed the field. the 1000m mark went by in 2:48.33 and the 2000m in 5:32.36 before an impressive final 200m dash of 26.7sec.
The only other South African in action on Sunday’s final day of the three-day event was Carina Horn. She ended seventh in her 60m semi-final, her time of 7.34sec not good enough to see her progress further.
On Friday shot-putter Orazio Cremona made the final of his event┬á where he ended seventh with a 20.49m effort.
This after only reaching Poland on the evening before his event. “Our flights were delayed and it took us forever to get to Poland.
“I’ve been training really hard and set achievable goals which could push me to another level. One was to reach final. So I’m happy for that and cannot thank God enough.
“Also my coaches and family for the support. I was nervous in qualifying as my energy levels were low from all the travelling so I knew it had to happen on the first throw which it did.
“The finals were an awesome experience which changed my mentality. I struggled once again as I was so tired but I dug deep and got a good distance out. I’m super happy, but never satisfied.”
What’s up next for the big Gauteng athlete? “I’m just looking forward to the next week which I have off then back to training my butt off for the next meetings in Europe.”