Semenya clinches South African championship double

Caster Semenya achieved a notable double by claiming the 800m and the 1 500m titles at the South African championships on Sunday.

The 800m world champion clocked a sedate 2:2,10 seconds over the shorter distance, some way off her pre-race desire to dip under two minutes.

Twenty-year-old Semenya then turned in a strong performance in the 1 500m and was timed at 4:12,93.

The South African shot to fame by winning the 800m world title in Berlin in August 2009 before having an enforced break of almost a year after undergoing gender verification tests.

Semenya was untroubled in Sunday’s 800m, which was held in hot and humid conditions, and led from the start to finish more than two seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

“I was a little bit disappointed with my 800m time but I was happy with what I ran in the 1 500m,” she told reporters.

‘I might win’
Semenya has one more meeting in South Africa, on April 16, before turning her attentions overseas.

Her manager Jukka Harkonen said the athlete would compete in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Challenge meeting in Senegal on May 28.

Semenya will then head to the United States to race in the Diamond League event in Oregon on June 4.

Her main goal this year is retaining her world title in Daegu, South Korea at the end of August.

“I might win the world title, but who knows. I need to concentrate on my races and not worry about anybody else,” said Semenya.

“I am going to go to the world championships and challenge myself. It’s what I do best.”—Reuters


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