Olivier returns to action in Paris

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iol spt may17 Andre Olivier AFP SA 800m runner Andre Olivier is confident of hitting his straps when he resumes his Euro track and field campaign. Photo: JANEK SKARZYNSKI

Johannesburg - Having worked hard in training over the last few weeks, South African two-lap specialist Andre Olivier is confident of hitting his straps when he resumes his European track and field campaign this weekend.

Olivier, who has not competed since he withdrew from the Diamond League meeting in Rome four weeks ago due to illness, will turn out in the men's 800m race at the next leg of the top-flight series in Paris on Saturday night.

The South African champion will line up alongside training partner Nijel Amos of Botswana, the Olympic silver medallist, as the duo square off against the likes of two-time world indoor champion Abubaker Kaki of Sudan and 1 500m world champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya.

“I think the rest did me well and the last two weeks of training with Nijel Amos could not have gone better,” Olivier said.

“We are feeling good for Saturday and the rest of the season.”

Despite taking a short break from competition, Olivier believed he was in shape to perform at his best in the French capital.

Only one athlete in the 12-man field, Spaniard Kevin Lopez, holds a slower season's best than Olivier's 1:44.85, but the North-West University star was ready to shine ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at the end of the month.

“I hope I can perform at my best from race one (on return to competition),” he said.

“I'm not a runner who needs a lot of races to get in shape. If I train hard and I'm fit for the race, I know I can do well.”

Cornel Fredericks, the only other South African competing in Paris, will turn out in the men's 400m hurdles race.

Fredericks, who was third in his specialist event at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on Thursday, will be aiming for another podium finish.

Only two men in the line-up - Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and American Michael Tinsley, who were first and second respectively in Lausanne - have run faster than the South African's 48.58 season's best this year, and Fredericks should be eager to stun his fancied opponents with a rare top-flight victory.


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