Semenya sets sights on improved times

2011-06-08 14:22

Caster Semenya reached her first goal of running 1:58 minutes at the Eugene, Oregon leg of the Diamond League series on Saturday and now has her eyes set on running a second faster at tomorrow’s Oslo leg.

Her coach, Michael Seme said Semenya’s preparations for defending her world title at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, were on track.

“We are looking at steadily improving her times in the build-up to the worlds,” said Seme.

“I am very happy with her performance in Eugene and that she was able to reach our goal of running the race in a time of 1:58.

“The goal is to try to improve on that race and if she can repeat that performance with a 1:57 in Oslo, we will be very happy.”

Semenya will run two or more international meetings before she makes her appearance at the World Student Games in Shenzhen, China to be held from August 12 to 13.

If the goal is to improve by a second at every meeting leading up to the championships, she will be equal her personal best of 1:55.45 which she achieved at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

Seme said his star athlete still needed to tweak her strategy to improve her time in the first 400m.

Semenya, according to the Diamond League’s website yesterday, echoed her coach’s thoughts at a press conference in Oslo.

“The first 150m were too slow, and I made some other minor mistakes,” said Semenya.

The 20-year-old who is planning to run both the 800m and 1 500m at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, said she still needed to work on her speed and endurance before then.

Semenya will be joined in Oslo by South African world long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena and javelin champion Robert Oosthuizen.

Mokoena leapt to a season’s best 8.31m at the Diamond League, Prefontaine Classic meeting in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

The jump was, however, assisted by a tail wind of 2.4 metres per second which made the jump unofficial.

Mokoena still needs to record an official 8.20 jump to qualify for the world champs.

Oosthuizen secured podium spots in both of his two Diamond League outings this season, in Doha and Shanghai respectively.

In Doha he was placed second with an 84.38m heave and he was third in Shanghai, where he threw 83.73 with his sixth and final effort.

He will once again be up against former world champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland and Olympic gold medallist Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway who lead the charge in the Diamond League series.

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