Johannesburg – South Africa's best middle-distance runners are aiming for fast times in Glasgow, Scotland, this weekend, as they fine-tune their preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
National record holder Johan Cronje will line up in the men's 1500m race at the Diamond League meeting on Saturday, while Olympic silver medallist Andre Olivier toes the line in the men's 800m event.
No South African athletes will compete on Friday's opening day of the two-day meeting, which is usually held in London but was moved to Glasgow this season.
Cronje, who has not raced in four weeks after returning home from Europe for a month-long training stint, said he was hoping to get back to his best in his last two events before the Games.
After the Glasgow meeting, he would compete at the Diamond League event in Monaco next week, just five days before he returns to the Scottish city for the Games opening ceremony.
“I would have preferred doing two 800s instead of the 1500s (as final preparation) but in the end we stuck with the 1500s,” Cronje said.
“Hopefully I can go fast in at least one of them.”
Only four of the 16 men in the field this weekend, spearheaded by defending Commonwealth Games 1 500m champion Silas Kiplagat of Kenya, have run faster than the SA record holder.
Olivier, meanwhile, clocked 1:44.42 to finish sixth at the Diamond League meeting in Paris last week, just 0.13 seconds slower than his two-year-old career record, and he hoped to go even quicker in Glasgow.
He also confirmed he would turn out in one more race next week – either in Monaco or Madrid – ahead of the Games.
Olivier squares up against a strong field in Glasgow, led by Kenyan world record holder David Rudisha.
“I'm happy with my time (in Paris), which was a season's best and almost a personal best, but I feel I can go faster,” he said.
“So I'm very positive after that race and excited for the next couple of races ahead.” – Sapa