Semenya to open Diamond League campaign

2014-06-05 17:57

Caster Semenya will launch her campaign on the European circuit when she lines up in the 800m final of the Golden Gala meeting in Rome, Italy.

Semenya is among a group of four South Africans who will compete in the Diamond League event tonight.

Others are sprinter Simon Magakwe (100m), Johan Cronje (1 500m) and Victor Hogan (discus).

Javelin-thrower Sunette Viljoen was also invited, but the SA champion pulled out saying that she needed to take a break.

The event will be Magakwe’s second Diamond meeting after his race in the third series of the lucrative one-day competition at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, US, last Saturday.

The SA record-holder finished last in the 100m final that was won by American Justin Gatlin.

The duo will face off again tonight in a strong field that will also have Gerald Phiri of Zambia, Jamaican Nesta Carter and veteran sprinter Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

For Semenya, the Rome meeting will mark a return to the international stage since the Limpopo-born runner failed to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Russia in August last year.

Apart from her wins in two races this season, the 23-year-old has not raced in any other competitive events since the provincial and national championships in April.

In fact, Semenya has yet to earn a berth in the South African team for the Commonwealth Games that will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 to August 3.

Follow the SA athletics at the Rome Diamond League tonight:

Victor Hogan – discus throw from 5.30pm

Johan Cronje – 1 500m final at 8.13pm

Caster Semenya – 800m final at 9.20pm

Simon Magakwe – 100m final at 9.53pm

» All events are at South African times and will be shown live on SS5 from 8pm

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