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Mulaudzi wins, Cronje third

By Mark Etheridge

South Africans Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Johan Cronje and Rene Kalmer finished first, third and sixth respectively at the IAAF World Challenge track and field meeting in Madrid, Spain on Friday night.

World 800-metre champion Mulaudzi won the two-lapper in 1min 45.1sec, comfortably clear of Kenyan Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva (1:45.4) and the host country’s Manuel Olmeda (1:45.4).

Cronje, a multiple SA 1500m champion, took third behind Remmy Limo Ndiwa of Kenya (3:36.2) and Britain’s Thomas Lancashire (3:37.3).

“There were technical difficulties so no electronic timing or photo-finishes,” said Cronje. “I am sure I might have dipped the Brit on the line for secondnd place. Both our times are given as 3:37.3.

“All in all I’m pleased with the result – giving it’s my first competition for the year. Still lots of work to do though…”

That’s something of an understatement, given the fact that this was Cronje’s first serious race since the heats at World Championships in Germany back in August last year. He’s battled injury ever since.

Kalmer was in action in the women’s 1500m after a spell of road racing in the United States. The race was won by Spain’s Natalie Rodriguez in 4:06.7.

As for Kalmer: “I I had a ‘cra**y’ race, and was sixth in 4.11.1. The meeting was delayed by 90min because of a thunderstorm. Then the electronic timing didn’t work and I didn’t realize I was running so slowly!

“It can only get better, but at least I know I’m in much better shape. I’ll be running 3000 in Lausanne on Thursday.”

Kalmer’s SA countryman Lebogang Phalula was also in the 1500m line-up but failed to finish the race.

Commonwealth Games champion Elizna Naude was also in action in the discus and took fifth with a 57.08 effort.

Meanwhile Stellenbosch based coach Mario Smith’s long jump hope, Luvo Manyonga, was also in action but with the slippery underfoot conditions could only manage 7.70m for third spot.

And then US based 110m hurdler Lehann Fourie took fifth in 13.4 and former national 100m sprint champion Simon Magakwe took fifth in the 200m (20.8).