Semenya fails fitness test, not yet ready to race

2010-07-07 12:36

Caster Semenya’s coach says the world 800m champion has failed a

fitness test but will be given another chance to qualify for the African

Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya which start on July 28.

The 19-year-old, who was yesterday given the green light to compete

against women, needed to run a 600m time trial in one minute, 32 seconds this

morning to prove her fitness ahead of the continental championships, but fell a

few seconds short with two attempts.

“She ran 1:38 and she had a five-minute break, then she ran 1:35,”

said her coach, Michael Seme.

“But they said she can try and prove her fitness before the African

Championships, so she will run one or two meetings in Europe and we will take it

from there.”

Seme said he had not expected his charge to be race ready at this

stage, but was confident that she would do so within the next couple of


“We are not angry that she hasn’t been chosen for the team yet

because we will respect any decisions made by the national federation,” Seme


“Caster has only been jogging in training and you can’t expect her

to be ready to race so soon after 11 months off.

“But I’m happy with the times she ran today.”

Semenya last raced at the World Championships in Berlin last August

when she secured a stunning victory in 1:55.45, improving her own South African

record just days after it was leaked that the International Association of

Athletics Federations (IAAF) had ordered gender tests on her.

The IAAF yesterday said it had “accepted the conclusion of a panel

of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect.”

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