Athletics

Caster eyes Olympic qualifier

2012-04-11 14:00
Caster Semenya (AFP)

Johannesburg - Caster Semenya will target a sub-two minute race in the women's 800 metres final at this weekend's SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth, her coach, Maria Mutola, said on Wednesday.

Mutola, the three-time world 800 metres champion, said it was vital for her charge to run the two-lap race below two minutes ahead of the European track season, in preparation for the London Olympic Games in July.

"We are looking for anything under two minutes on Saturday," Mutola said.

"If she runs two-something it could be a problem confidence-wise.

"If we go to Europe with anything under two minutes it would be a good thing."

In her first 800m race of the season, Semenya clocked 2:03.60, missing the Olympic qualifying standard of 1:59.90 at a Yellow Pages Series meeting in Potchefstroom in March.

The 21-year-old set her first qualifying mark at last year's IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where she won the silver medal in a time of 1:56.35.

She hoped to get her second qualifying mark out of the way in Port Elizabeth, in order to book herself a place in the country's Olympic team.

"I am capable of running below two minutes so I will try to run it, as long as the weather is good," Semenya said on Wednesday.

They had put a lot of emphasis on building Semenya's confidence in a year that could be emotionally draining, according to Mutola.

"Very good advice [for Semenya] is to be in shape really, to stay healthy and go to London in shape to be able to win it," she said.

"[After] all the Olympics I have been to, [we know] it is going to take under two minutes to be able to win it.

"You have to produce 1:56/1:55 to be able to win the race because everyone is training for the same event, to be an Olympic champion." Semenya's mentor was pleased with her progress and hoped she would take charge when she lined up on Saturday.

"It is going to be a difficult year and also an exciting year," Mutola said.

"It is very important to stay in shape and it is important for her this weekend to run under two minutes.

"She is training well and I believe she can do it, she can go under two minutes.

"What is difficult at the SA championships for someone is to take over and just try to run under two minutes."

The duo teamed up ahead of the Olympic season after Semenya, who won gold and silver at the last two global championships, parted ways with long-time coach Michael Seme.

Semenya said she was fortunate to be able to call on the advice and experience of Mutola in such an important year.

"I am very happy with our relationship," she said.

"It is good to have the experience of an Olympic athlete.

"I am confident but I have not done enough racing."

They looked forward to a good race at the national championships, Mutola said, and she was confident Semenya would achieve her target.

"I believe qualification is no problem and I believe she will be able to run a good race this weekend, but the most important thing is to have confidence in oneself.

"Going to these European track meets, you have to be able to win over there, run good times and go to the Olympics with a lot of confidence.

"That is a very important thing for athletes."

Read more on:    caster semenya  |  athletics
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Friend remembers Mwelase

8 minutes ago

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.