Having already become the third fastest man of all time in the 110metre hurdles, David Oliver, the American, will take another shot at the world record at tonight's Monaco Diamond League meeting. Oliver shaved 0.01secs off the American record last week at the Paris Diamond League meet where he clocked 12.89secs, just 0.02 short of Dayron Robles' world record.
The powerfully built Oliver posted the fastest time this year in Paris, just two weeks after equaling Dominique Arnold's previous American record at the Prefontaine Classic. Only two men have run faster than Oliver in the event, Robles (12.87) and China's Liu Xiang (12.88). Meanwhile, Caster Semenya will have to wait to see if she is included in South Africa's Commonwealth Games team after the country's Olympic body (SASCOC) said yesterday it would only finalise its track and field line-up in late August.
SASCOC named a 115-strong squad for the competition in India but said a "final amendment" would be made on August 25, when it will announce the athletics and rugby sevens teams. South Africa will compete in 15 sports at the October 3-14 Commonwealth Games, but the 800m world champion is likely to grab all the attention if, as expected, she makes her return to major competition in New Delhi. Semenya made a low-key comeback from an 11-month layoff following gender tests by winning both her recent races in Finland.
She ran times of 2:04.22 and 2:02.41 in her first competitive outings for nearly a year - some way off the 1:55.45 she clocked in Berlin last August to win gold at the world championships. Now 19, Semenya was not included in South Africa's team for the ongoing World Junior Championships in Canada or next week's African Championships after she failed a fitness test on July 7, the day after she was cleared to run again.
That lead Michael Seme, her coach, and Athletics South Africa, the national federation, to say she should target the Commonwealth Games as her first high-profile event since her return. Semenya is expected to make the team and Athletics South Africa has said it will do all it can to help her prepare for the Commonwealth Games. Semenya returned to South Africa from Finland yesterday morning to continue her training and Jukka Harkonen, her manager, has said she will be back in Europe in August for more meetings - although he would not offer any details. In yesterday's statement, Gideon Sam, the SASCOC president, said the Commonwealth Games would be the beginning of South Africa's build-up to the next Olympics, which will be held in London in two years' time.
"This will be an excellent test of whether our policy of 'only the best' will show results," Sam said. "The performance of this team will also give us an indication of how well we are doing on the road to the London Olympics in 2012." The team also includes Roland Schoeman, an Olympic gold medallist swimmer in 2004, Natalie du Toit, a Paralympic swimmer, and Robbie Hunter, a Tour de France cyclist.