DETERMINED: Caster Semenya at the SA Senior Championship
in Port Elizabeth. PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES
“I feel comfortable, man,” she said at the weekend at the SA Senior Championship at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth where she retained her 800m title in a “disappointing” time of 2min 02.68sec.
“Running is what I always wanted to do, every day. So yeah, I think I’m okay, I’m coping,” said Semenya, who was forced to quit the sport temporarily amid the row that marred her 800m victory at the 2009 World Championships.
To book her ticket to the London Games, she must run the Olympic qualifying mark of 1:59.90 one more time.
“The race was a little bit disappointing because we were looking for a qualifier. But the time will come, we just have to be patient,” Semenya said, denying she feels pressured into achieving the mark in the near future. The deadline is June 30.
“I don’t feel pressure, I just have to do my thing,” said Semenya, who beat the qualifying time on six occasions last year, all of them overseas, including 1:56.35 at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
She’s relishing a likely duel against 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo, who seems to be in top form. The Kenyan’s 1:54.01 personal best is nearly one-and-a-half seconds quicker than Semenya’s 1:55.45 fastest.
Semenya switched trainers after last year’s world championships, and is now working under the mentorship of Maria Mutola.
Semenya, who also won gold with the Gauteng North women’s 4x400m relay team at the weekend, said she would make herself available to help South Africa attempt to qualify a women’s 4x400m team for the Olympics if needed.
The relay team could be a dark horse medal chance for SA.