Athletics

Semenya targets Bislett Games

2011-06-08 07:49
Caster Semenya (AFP)

Oslo - Caster Semenya has bucked the controversy over her gender and has now targeted a successful Diamond League campaign in the run-up to the bid to defend her world women's 800m title in August.

The 20-year-old stormed to victory in the 2009 World Athletics Championships but was cast into limbo soon after because of allegations over her true gender.

The South African was revealed to be a hermaphrodite after the leaking of test results following her 800m win in Berlin.

The incident generated anger from the South African public and government, who rallied behind the athlete, and sparked a major gender review by the IAAF, which in April introduced new eligibility rules for women athletes with excessive male hormones, a medical condition known as hyperandrogenism.

Semenya was cleared to compete as a woman in July 2010, nearly a year after she shot to prominence.

"It wasn't easy to come back after the IAAF ban, but this was the goal," Semenya admitted ahead of Thursday's Bislett Games in Oslo, the fifth of the 14-leg IAAF Diamond League series.

The race on Thursday will be Semenya's third of the season: she won an IAAF Challenge event in Dakar and then finished second at the Diamond League race in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday.

"The first 150m were too slow, and I made some other minor mistakes," she said of her Eugene outing, undertaken despite a 34-hour trip to the United States from her homeland.

Semenya, however, managed to dip under the 1min 59sec mark Stateside, which made her second fastest in the world this year.

And she seems to be slowly getting back on track to the amazing form she displayed in 2009, when she clocked a jaw-dropping personal best of 1:55.45 when she won the world gold.

"In Oslo, I want to remain below 1:58, maybe 1:57, but everything happens with an eye on the World Championships in South Korea."

She will face a tough outing at Bislett, including former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya, world indoor and European outdoor champion Mariya Savinova of Russia and Britain's Jenny Meadows, who won world championship bronze behind Semenya and Jepkosgei in 2009.

"At the Bislett Games, the time is very important, probably more important than first place," said Semenya, now studying at Pretoria University.

"You may eventually win with a slow time. That's not my goal. I want to run fast."

While admitting that she will have to work on her endurance ahead of the August 27-September 4 worlds in Daegu, South Korea, and the 2012 London Olympics, Semenya acknowledged that defending the world title was on her radar.

"Defending a world title is not easy," she said. "The 800m is a bit tricky. It can be a fast race or a slow one, and it depends on how strong you are mentally.

"Personally, I think I have a chance to defend my title but somebody else will want to win. Everybody in the final can get first place.

"I'll be happy if I get back on the podium, it doesn't matter if it's silver or bronze, as long as I'm back there."

Read more on:    caster semenya
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

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

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

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.