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Athletics | SA Track & Field

Caster Semenya © Gallo Images

Semenya must run her own race - Harkonen

Caster Semenya will need to run hard from the gun and avoid getting caught in a tactical battle, according to her agent Jukka Harkonen, in her final bid to qualify for the IAAF World Championships this weekend.

Semenya will compete in the women's 800m event at the Flanders Cup meeting in Ninove, Belgium, on Saturday.

"Caster needs to run her own race," Harkonen said on Thursday night.

Semenya won her comeback race last week after a lengthy layoff, but was well outside the qualifying standard for the world championships, clocking a pedestrian 2:06.58 at the Lahti Games in Finland.

It was her first competitive outing since last year's London Olympic Games, after recovering from a long-term knee problem. She had undergone extensive rehabilitation to correct an imbalance in her leg strength due to the effects of an operation she had as a child.

Semenya improved her season's best by more than two seconds in Lapinlahti on Sunday, winning the two-lap race at the Savo Games in 2:04.48, but again failed to qualify.

And while she won both races in Finland, Harkonen warned she would need to treat the race in Ninove as a time trial and ward off any danger of being drawn into a contest with the rest of the field.

"She was capable of running the qualifying time already in Finland on Sunday but she ran the first 400m slower than the second," he said.

Athletics South Africa included seven athletes with B-standard qualifying performances in the provisional team named last week, indicating that Semenya, a medalist at the last two world championships, would be added to the squad with a 2:01.50 B-standard performance, and would not need to chase the 2:00.00 A-standard.

The qualifying deadline for next month's showpiece in Moscow, Russia, is on Monday.


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