Kenyans will give Semenya a run for her money

2010-09-26 13:52

Two Kenyan athletes are busy plotting against South Africa’s 800m star Caster Semenya ahead of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

And with the abrupt withdrawal of the defending champion, Janeth Jepkosgei, from the Games, the burden of stopping the Moletji Express, Semenya, in the women’s 800m now lies squarely on the young shoulders of world junior 800m silver medallist Cherono Koech and her compatriot, Winnie Chebet.

The two say they are up to the challenge against the world champion.

“I’m ready for Semenya. She might be more popular than I but that does not mean I am afraid of her. Let us wait until the Games in New Delhi,” Koech told City Press at the Moi International Sports Centre in the capital Nairobi where the Kenyan contingent is training.

Chebet, who was fifth at the Africa Championship in Nairobi in July, lost out to Semenya at the Africa Junior Championships in Mauritius last year.

The South African junior record-holder did not compete at the Nairobi event as she was sidelined by her post-Berlin gender test row.

Chebet said: “I have only run against her once, in Mauritius, and she was too fast for me. But she helped me run 2:01.36, which was then my personal best time.

“I want to beat her to get even. I will be looking to get to her in New Delhi and I know I have the potential to beat ­anyone.”

Semenya ran two laps in a minute and 56 seconds to set the fastest time on African soil in Mauritius.

Meanwhile, Jepkosgei withdrew from the Games this week due to injuries, she told the media.

“I have had injuries to my hip and tendon. I have been training with a lot of pain and I don’t want to aggravate it. That is why I decided to pull out.”

With her withdrawal, Kenya now has five serious medal contenders sitting out of the quadrennial event.

Those not going to New Delhi include Olympic 1?500m champion Asbel Kiprop, world 800m record holder David Rudisha, Edwin Soi and Linet Maasai.

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