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Athletics | SA Track & Field

Caster Semenya © Gallo Images

Semenya back on the track



Caster Semenya will compete for the first time in nearly 12 months when she turns out at a low-key track and field meeting – the Lahti Games – in Finland on Wednesday.

"She is running tomorrow in Lahti, Finland," Semenya's Finnish agent, Jukka Harkonen, confirmed on Tuesday.

Semenya had been sidelined by a recurring left-knee injury, and subsequent rehabilitation, since she claimed the silver medal in the women's 800m final at the London Olympic Games on August 11 last year.

Harkonen would not divulge details of the target she had set for her first race on return, but he confirmed last month that Semenya would attempt to meet the 2:00.00 qualifying standard for next month's IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, before the July 29 deadline.

He said on Tuesday she had not planned any other meetings before the global showpiece, suggesting she would attempt to achieve the required time in Lahti.

"No other meets have been agreed," Harkonen said.

Harkonen said last month that Semenya was adjusting well after undergoing extensive rehabilitation in an effort to correct an imbalance in her leg strength, which she had struggled with since undergoing surgery as a child.

"She is recovering very well and practice is going well," he said at the time.

South Africa's most successful track athlete in recent years, the 22-year-old 800m specialist has performed consistently in championship events since rising from relative obscurity to win the women's two-lap title at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

Two years later, after bouncing back from a gender controversy, Semenya grabbed the silver medal at the global championships in Daegu, and while she showed relative immaturity in her tactical approach in the London Olympic final, she again stepped on the podium.

If she qualifies for the global spectacle in Moscow, Semenya should provide South Africa with the country's best chance for a medal.



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