Caster is back on comeback trail

2011-03-11 00:00

WORLD 800 metres champion Caster Semenya is well and truly on the comeback trail.

The Pretoria-based athlete stepped down in distance at the third and final leg of the Yellow Pages Invitation Series in Bellville, Cape Town, last night, to test her speed over the 400 m distance and took the line honours in 54,03 seconds.

Semenya held second position for much of the race, but powered through to edge out Namibian Tjipekaporo Herunga by 0,37 seconds, with local athlete Alet van Wyk a distant third in 55,11 seconds.

In theory Semenya, who was running the one-lap distance for the first time as a senior, ran the equivalent of a 1:57 for the 800 m distance, which is surprisingly close to the 1:55,45 that she ran to secure the gold medal in Berlin in 2009.

Even more amazing is that this has come so early in the season given that the 20-year-old has been struggling for so many months with a back injury, which started shortly after she had been given the go-ahead to return to competition by the IAAF last year.

The injury caused her to miss the Commonwealth Games. This performance gives Semenya a solid rung on the ladder for the defence of her title at the 2011 World Championships in South Korea in August.

KZN’s Shane Victor won the men’s 400 m, taking the scalp of Ofentse Mogawane when he stormed the line in 46,59 seconds with Mogawane 0,03 seconds off the pace.

Shaun de Jager finished third in 46,68.

The up-and-coming Victor looks set for a useful year and will look forward to going for the national championship title, which will be held on home ground at King’s Park in Durban on April 9 and 10.

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