Cape Town - Caster Semenya will face the
Ugandan challenge of Winnie Nanyondo and Halimah Nakaayi this coming Thursday, March 8 at what should be an action-packed second Athletix
Grand Prix Series meeting at Tuks Athletics Stadium in the seldom run 1 000m.
This will be a first for the
entire line-up as not one of these athletes has raced in a competitive 1 000m.
Semenya should start as
favourite based on her Personal Best times, however this is a non-standard
distance and will affect pace judgement.
Nakaayi won the 800m at the first Athletix Grand Prix Series meeting last Thursday (March 1) in
Roodepoort, ahead of her countrywoman, Winnie Nanyondo.
However, all bets are
off as the duo look to take the biggest scalp of their careers.
Semenya, who won the gold
medal in the 800m and bronze in the 1 500m at the 2017 IAAF World Championships
in London, is looking forward to the encounter, in particular in front of the
crowd at Tuks where she is now training.
"It is always a pleasure to run
here. This is now my home and I love racing in front of the people at Tuks.
They are always very supportive," said Semenya.
On the Ugandan challenge,
Semenya is relishing the chance to take on international athletes at home.
is exciting. I am always racing international competitions in Europe or
America, never at home. So to face Winnie and Halimah at home is fantastic for
the sport. And I know they will want to run fast. I saw them run in Roodepoort
and they mean business."
A few weeks ago, Semenya
hinted at chasing the South African record of 2:37.2 run by Ilse de Kock
Wicksell in 1983, if the pace was right.
"I did mention that maybe the
(SA) record could be on the cards a few weeks ago, but now with the Ugandan
girls, I know it will be a hard race."
Both the Ugandan athletes are
keenly anticipating the race against Semenya.
"This is why we came to South
Africa. We want to race against Caster on African soil. It is important to us,"
"You know this will be an
aggressive race with Caster in the mix," said Nakaayi, the winner of the 800m
in Roodepoort. "She is not scared of pushing the pace, so we know this will be
a hard race."