Cape Town - South Africa’s double Olympic and triple world champion, Caster Semenya will toe the line in the 1 000m, a rarely run event on the track, at Tuks Stadium in Tshwane on Thursday, March 8 in the second of three Athletix Grand Prix meetings.
Semenya has never raced the two and a half lap distance. This will be a unique experience both for her and the crowds.
The 27-year-old double Olympic champion has hinted that if she feels good on the day, she may very well chase the South African record which stands at 2:37.2 set by Ilse de Kock Wicksell in 1983.
“My training is going very well. I am fit, I am confident and if the conditions are right, I may just see how close I can get to the record. It does depend on the pace of the race. If the time is on, I will try and chase it,” said Semenya.
She has good reason to feel good after running a 51-second 400m at the fourth Athletics Gauteng North League Meeting at Tuks on Saturday.
Semenya is a wily campaigner, with over 10 years of racing behind her. She is well aware that although there is no World Championships or Olympic Games in 2018, it is still a long year for the athlete.
“The Athletix Grand Prix Series fits perfectly into my plans. I can see where I am right now in terms of my training. That will give me a good idea of what I can do in Europe later this year. Remember there are the African Senior Championships in August (Nigeria) and also the Continental and World Cups’ later this year. So even though there are no Olympics, or Worlds, this is still a long and big year for me,” she said.
Semenya is targeting the 1 000m in Tshwane before looking to defend her national title a week later and finally tackling the 1 500m at Dal Josaphat Stadium, Paarl on March 22. If the pace allows it she may very well end up hunting down the women’s SA 1 500m record of 4:01.81 which stands behind the name of Zola Budd Pieterse.
Semenya’s best is 4:01.99 which she ran in Durban in 2016, not far off the national record.
If the pace is right she has hinted that she may well try and claim the 1 500m record too.