Caster Semenya remains confident of securing a place in South Africa’s athletics team for the London Olympic Games.
The former 800 metres world champion must twice set the standard of one minute, 59.90 seconds (1:59.90) in her event before the June 30 qualifying deadline.
“Qualification is simple for me, and if I continue the way I’ve been doing at training, then I’m in,” Semenya said on Thursday.
“I don’t feel the pressure of qualifying because as an athlete I know what to do, and that is to dip under two minutes.”
Semenya clocked 2:03.60 in hear season debut over 800m in Potchefstroom last month, and was only slightly quicker, crossing the line in 2:02.68, when she retained the national title in Port Elizabeth last week.
She joins fellow two-lap specialist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and a handful of other athletes as they go in search of the Olympic qualifying standards at the third and final Yellow Pages Series meeting of the season in Pretoria on Friday night.
Semenya, who cut ties with former coach Michael Seme last year, said she was making strides with new mentor Maria Mutola, a former Olympic gold medallist.
“Working with Mutola has benefitted me in many ways, especially since we’ve been working on getting quality speed,” she said.
“That is one reason that I feel I can go out there and do enough [in Pretoria] tomorrow when I put on my spikes.”
Semenya’s Finnish manager, Jukka Harkonen, lauded Mutola for the progress she had made with her new charge in the off-season, though the 21-year-old SA record holder had yet to post anything near her career best of 1:55.45.
“Mutola has been fantastic,” Harkonen said.
“She has been a great motivator for Caster and is one of the best in the world.”
Other notable Olympic hopefuls who will go in search of the qualifying standards in Pretoria include Beijing 2008 long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena and former African women’s javelin throw record holder Justine Robbeson.
Article source: http://sport.iafrica.com/others/790366.html