Athletics

Caster braced for last race as SA's 800m queen?

Caster Semenya (Gallo Images)
Caster Semenya (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Caster Semenya will lead a three-pronged South African charge on Friday night when she lines up for the opening leg of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League series in Doha, Qatar. 

Semenya, the world and Olympic champion, features in the start lists for the women's 800m race. 

Though she will turn out as the firm favourite in an attempt to extend her lengthy unbeaten streak over the two-lap distance, she faces a field which also includes the likes of Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and American Ajee Wilson. 

With the Court for Arbitrations of Sport (CAS) having ruled on Wednesday that the IAAF's decision to limit the amount of natural testosterone in female athletes from May 8 will stand, this could be Semenya's final 800m performance in South African colours.

"We believe that Caster will shake off the world attention currently around her to give us another exceptional performance and give the world new topics to talk about. She is an outstanding athlete who has a continuous hunger for great results," said Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana. 

Two South Africans will enter the blocks in the women's 400m hurdles race.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Wenda Nel and world U20 champion Zeney van der Walt are up against the likes of Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States and Commonwealth champion Janieve Russell of Jamaica. 

"We are confident that our three girls will give great competition in their respective events. They have been in and around top international level,” said Skhosana.

"Zeney is already catching the global attention at senior level and should find it comfortable as she builds on her increasing experience. Wenda is a fighter and will not be different at her race except as looks for higher performance outcomes."

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