Caster Semenya Using African Champs To Decide On Olympic Events

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South African female athlete Caster Semenya is using the 20th Confederation of African Athletes’ African Senior Championships in Durban this week to make decisions concerning the Olympic events she will take part in at Rio 2016.

The 2009 world 800m champion and London 2012 silver medallist has been working hard to win the gold medal at the upcoming Olympics in Brazil, and recent form is certainly in her favour, as she has won three successive IAAF Diamond League races.

The favourite for the 800m women’s race is confident of her ability in the specific event, but is using the competition this week to decide whether or not she should also be running in the 1500m or 400m events.

Both of those events come before her double-lap speciality at the Olympics, so there is the concern of an injury occurring that could potentially stifle her chances of winning gold in the 800m race.

Caster Semenya with decisions to make

Speaking at a press conference in Durban, Semenya admitted to using this week’s competition and the subsequent Diamond League event in Monaco to consider her options.

“I still have to decide after these championships and after Monaco [Diamond League in July]. We’re still working on my speed, strength and recovery,” Semenya said, according to TimesLive.

“This championship will tell if we do the double. It’s not easy to run the double at a championship if you haven’t done it before,” she added.

The runner is involved in the 1500m, 800m and 4x400m relay events in Durban this week.

Semenya’s world-leading time of 1:56.64 in the 800m event means that she is able to positively contribute to a 400m relay race, and IOL reports that she is doing just that in Durban, as she aims to help the 4X400m women’s team to qualify for the Olympics.

“The main focus at the moment is just to balance my speed with my endurance, so I will focus on the 1 500m and the 800m. I will also be racing in the 4x400m to help the girls qualify for the Olympics,” she revealed.

According to InsideTheGames, the International Association of Athletics Federations recently dropped rules that regulate testosterone levels in female athletes, with an appeal to that ruling expected next year.

This is interesting in a discussion concerning Semenya, as she was at the centre of a gender test scandal when she won the 2009 world title as an 18-year-old.

Team SA will be expecting a gold medal at Rio 2016 when Semenya takes to the track in the 800m race.