News24

Semenya seals Olympics place

2012-04-21 07:48

Pretoria - Former world champion Caster Semenya won an 800 metres race in one minute 59.58 seconds Friday to secure a place in the South African team for the Olympic Games.

Semenya is considered the best South African prospect for gold at the London Games and relished running on a University of Pretoria track where she was boosted by a fast start from Namibian Herunga Tjipekapora.

"I am very happy with the time and now I know what my plans for the European season are. I do not have to rush now, I must just be patient and wait for the Olympics.

"My ambition is to get to the podium in London -- that is a very important thing to do -- and to win gold. We will just have to wait and see," she told reporters on a cool, clear autumn evening in the South African Highveld city.

It was third time lucky for the 21-year-old, who conquered the world in Berlin three years ago but was then forced to take gender tests amid accusations from rivals.

She failed to better the 1:59.90 qualifying mark during two previous attempts in South Africa this year, most recently at the national championships in wind-swept Port Elizabeth last weekend.

All South African Olympic hopefuls must match or better the qualifying mark twice -- once at home and once abroad -- before June 30 to be chosen for the London Games.

Semenya got her 'abroad' time in South Korean city Daegu last year when finishing second behind Russian Mariya Savinova in defence of the world title after a long spell being hampered by a lower back injury.

The former world champion changed coaches last year, replacing Michael Seme with ex-Olympic 800-metre gold medalist Maria Mutola from neighbouring Mozambique.

Other South African athletes who have booked places in London are 400-metre hurdlers LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks, women's javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen and decathlete Willem Coertzen.

Long jumper Khotso Mokoena, whose silver was the only medal won by South Africa at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, ended months of misery by bettering the Games qualifying mark with a leap of 8.29 metres.

But his successful first attempt at the national meet was followed by two no-jumps and three abortive efforts, leaving him needing to better the Games distance again before June 30 to make the team.

AFP

Comments
  • Khomotso Motso Makwela - 2012-04-21 08:39

    Congrats & good luck to all the athletes

  • bluzulu - 2012-04-21 08:45

    Congrats, RSA has confidence that you and all athletes representing RSA will perform at their best.

  • lisa.evansdominick - 2012-04-21 09:06

    Well done, you make SA proud!!!! We are all behind you!!!!

      Morgaen - 2012-04-22 10:06

      You would rather be behind Caster, than him behind you, lisa.

  • catgirl1971 - 2012-04-21 09:09

    Congratulations Caster! Go and shovel sand in the faces of your critics.

      bluzulu - 2012-04-21 09:17

      Critics , these are non other that armchair detractors that have never accomplished anything in their lives.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-21 11:25

      Well done Caster, SA is soo proud of you !! And while we are talking about athletes; Oscor Pistorius is on (this week's) Time magazine ""100 most influentual people" Wow.!!! Totally amzing. Both of you are such great ambassadors for SA

  • Marion - 2012-04-21 09:26

    Congratulations Caster. You go girl. And all other South Africans competing, do your best. That's all we can ask of you.

  • Lekgwakgwa - 2012-04-21 09:51

    I am so happy to see Semenya qualifying in time halala halala

      Morgaen - 2012-04-22 10:08

      A man running in a woman's race.. Great achievement!

  • Vongani - 2012-04-21 10:12

    well done sister and to all other athletes

      Morgaen - 2012-04-22 10:08

      He ain't heavy, he's your Brother

  • Sewela Marcia Rapudubudu - 2012-04-21 10:58

    Well done my home girl and to all other athletes.

  • AdeleFHM - 2012-04-21 13:37

    Well done Caster, we know you will bring that gold without question girl! As for Khotso Mokoena & his couch Hansie Coetzee I am extremely proud of you guys. They've been under a lot of negative media pressure lately and other people having doubts in them unnecessary. They are in a league of their own and I KNOW they are going to perform extremely well and also make S.A proud. The way they are training now is 110% on the right track and they've planned their whole journey towards the Olympics in their own time, so I think the media can relax a bit now, this years will be a great Olympics!

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