Where to now for Caster Semenya in 5 000m bid: 'It isn't out of reach'

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Caster Semenya. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)
Caster Semenya. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)
  • South African long-distance runner Dominique Scott-Efurd supports her colleague Caster Semenya, who has now shifted her focus to the 5 000m.
  • Semenya could not execute as expected as Scott-Efurd, who was in phenomenal form, cruised to the SA title in Cape Town on Thursday.
  • Scott-Efurd says this year's Commonwealth Games and World Championships qualification is not out of Semenya's reach.

Olympian Dominique Scott-Efurd hopes Caster Semenya qualifies in the women's 5 000m following the pair's performances at the ASA Track and Field Championship in Cape Town on Thursday.

Scott-Efurd had no problem overcoming an elite field as she opened up the gap to win gold in 15:28.10.

While all hopes were on Semenya and how she'd tackle the long-distance, it was Scott-Efurd who showed her class by outsmarting the race field.

Semenya, a two-time 800m Olympic champion, didn't finish far behind as she came second in 15:31.50, with Kyla Jacobs taking bronze in 15:37.56.

One could not but feel for Semenya, who will now have to rely on world competition events to secure an elusive World Championship and Commonwealth Games qualification.

Scott-Efurd credited Semenya as an "amazing runner" and expressed hope that she'll achieve the feat.

"I think she's going to need a well set-up race and is going to need someone to press her and it's probably going to need to be an evening race when it's cool," said Scott-Efurd.

"She's going to need to get a couple of things right, but she's an amazing runner and 15.10 isn't out of reach.

"I wish her all the best, it's tough that she's been made to step up in distance and I know it's a big transition, but I wish her all the luck."

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The three-day ASA Championship continues, with Scott-Efurd set to tackle the women's 10 000m on Saturday's final day.

Despite the wind being a factor, Scott-Efurd says running at sea level is perfect for long-distance runners.

Scott-Efurd will be targeting that race as her World Championship and Commonwealth Games entry and will be the favourite in the final.

"Both of them, they are two weeks apart. I'm planning on racing the 10 000m at both," said the now American-based athlete.

"I have the 5 000m standard, but I'm just going to focus on the 10 000m."

Scott-Efurd added that she was delighted with the growth in long-distance running in South Africa.

"It's improved so much, we have about six girls that can break 16 minutes, which internationally is not where we meant to be, but it's a step in the right direction," said Scott-Efurd.

"Having the South African Championships at sea level is so good for distance running.

"The sprinters can race anywhere, they can race in high altitude or at sea level, but the distance runners to have a good race, we have to race at sea level. 

"We want distance runners to continue improving, running world championship times."

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