Cape Town - Caster Semenya snuck into the South African team for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing after running a qualifying time on Saturday in a last-ditch attempt to make to the Beijing.
Semenya ran 2:00.72 at a meeting in Linz, Austria.
The athlete from Polokwane has endured an uphill battle to qualification after a slump in form, coaching troubles and injury setbacks in the past couple of years.
The World Championships in Beijing was a huge goal for Semenya who missed the last edition as well as the Commonwealth Games in Scotland last year.
Semenya changed coaching stables late last year, splitting from coach Maria Mutola and joining Jean Verster’s group in Potchefstroom. Verster and Semenya had to start from scratch, making their way through a series of small meetings as they adjusted the training schedule.
The athlete ran a few 1500m races in a bid to build endurance and work on race tactics, but the plan was always to qualify for the two-lap event. Semenya is far from on form though - she’s struggled to break two-minutes in the 800m, her last time under the magic barrier was a 1:58.92 in Rieti in 2013 and competition will be tough in Beijing.
Semenya’s qualifying time on Saturday is only the 48th fastest in the world this year, with Eunice Jepkoech Sum of Kenya leading the way with a 1:56.99.
The real goal, though, is the Olympic Games next year and there’s lots of time between then and now.