South African Athletics

Caster Semenya's coach confident

2015-08-03 18:05
Caster Semenya (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Qualifying for the IAAF World Championships at the eleventh hour, Caster Semenya will be doing some fine tuning before the global showpiece in Beijing, China later this month.

Semenya made a last gasp attempt at reaching the qualifying standard posting a time of 2:00.72 to book her place for the championships at a meeting in Linz, Austria on Saturday.

Her coach Jean Verster said he was encouraged by the star athlete’s first European race of the season at a meeting in the Czech Republic more than a week ago.

The 24-year-old Semenya posted her second fastest time ever in the 400m clocking 53.12 for a first-place finish there.

“She ran her first race in Europe since racing in the South African season, where she ran a 400m at a Czech meeting running her second fastest time of 53.12 which indicates she is ready to race fast but she needs races,” Verster said.

Semenya had been relatively quiet this season focusing on her studies while the niggling knee injury flared up again.

Following the South African season Semenya decided to hold back on the European season to finish her exams.

She was scheduled to run at the World Student Games in South Korea but a slight injury to a knee kept her away from the track.

Verster said they had taken a cautious approach with the injury to ensure they did not aggravate it and cause long-term damage.

“She is probably in sub-two minutes form. Her academics are really important to her,” Verster said.

Her race on Saturday was the closest she had come to breaking through two minutes in the two-lap event in nearly two years.

The last time Semenya ran faster than two minutes was at a World Challenge meeting in Rieti in September 2013.

Semenya will in all likelihood have to run a sub-two minute race at the World Championships to stand a chance of repeating her gold and silver-medal winning performances from the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, respectively.

“Hopefully we can get two good weeks in and we should get in a few sessions and luckily she only runs towards the end of the championships,” Verster said.

“We are holding thumbs she makes it all the way through to the finals.”

Read more on:    caster semenya  |  athletics

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