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
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
“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.”