'Slow' Semenya only ninth | SASCOC - SASCOC

‘Slow’ Semenya only ninth

Our world 800-metre champion Caster Semenya slumped to a distant ninth in the two-lapper event at Tuesday’s Palio della Quercia meeting in Italy.

Her time of 2min 7.16sec was the slowest of her five races since being cleared to run again by world athletics’ governing body IAAF after 11 months of gender speculation. In her first two low-key races in Finland she ran times of 2:04 and 2:02. She then dipped under the two minute barrier to win the ISTAF meeting in Berlin, Germany in 1:59.90.

Her first defeat came at the final race of the Diamond League series where she placed third in 1:59.66.

The time in Brussels though was still the fastest of all her comeback races. This latest result must certainly raise eyebrows ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, reportedly her big target for the remainder of the year.

Tuesday’s race was won by Elisa Cusma Piccione of Italy in 2:00.37 with Semenya never in contention for victory, third from the back after the first lap and lacking her customary power finish.

Associated Press agency AP quoted Semenya as saying: “I ran the race, I ran slow. Nothing happened. It’s part of the game,” Semenya said. “Sometimes you need to go according to your body.”

Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius was third in the men’s 400 B race in 47.14 seconds, far off the 45.95 he needs to qualify for next year’s World Championships. He attributed his performance to fatigue. He flew in from South Africa earlier in the day after attending his grandfather’s 93rd birthday.

Pistorius missed out on qualifying for South Africa’s Commonwealth Games team by 0.02 seconds when he set a personal-best of 46.02 in July. “It just means I’m going to have to work harder in the future and find ways of training smarter and resting more,” he said.