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Olympian Semenya back on track after lengthy injury break
- Updated: May 28, 2013
London Olympic silver medallist and former 800-metre world champion, Caster Semenya has this week begun training in earnest after battled to recover from knee injury since last year’s Games.
Depending on how well her training progresses, the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre (HPC) athlete may still decide to try to qualify for the IAAF World Championship in Moscow.
However, Maria Mutola, Semenya’s coach, emphasised that the chances of her competing in Moscow are slim at this stage. ÔÇ£As her coach I am certainly not going to allow Caster to take any risks that could jeopardise her long-term running career. It is important to see how her body will hold up once she starts doing some serious running.
ÔÇ£If she is injury-free by next week, we might consider the possibility of allowing her to start competing internationally within a few weeks from now.ÔÇØ
Last week it was reported that Semenya, an Olympic silver medallist, was excluded from SASCOC’s OPEX programmee. Medallists and finalists from the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as athletes ranked in the top eight in the world in their events, were included in the Olympic body’s latest top-tier funding programme.
However, Tubby Reddy, SASCOC CEO, said Semenya, a former world 800m champion, did not qualify for the programme because she was not training at the moment and it was uncertain whether she would compete this year.
According to Jukka H├ñrk├Ânen, Semenya’s agent, there is a good reason why she has not competed this season.ÔÇ£Caster was injured after the Olympic Games in London. Her left knee was very painful. t is the same knee on which an operation was done in Limpopo when she was 12 years old andthe knee has troubled her ever since then.
ÔÇ£During the 2011 IAAF World Championship in Daegu, she was in great pain. With the help of a physiotherapist who worked on Caster two to three times a day, she was able to win the silver medal in the 800m.
ÔÇ£Last season she had some pain, but it was bearable.┬á After the Olympic Games, however, it became so bad that she was forced to take a break. She also did rehabilitation at the HPC two to three times a day, and was becoming stronger.┬á By the end of April she was in very good shape. Unfortunately for her she injured he right ankle early in May. Therefore, there was a logical reason for her not to compete.┬á I do not know why some people always want to hurt Caster. It is very disconcerting to me.ÔÇØ
H├ñrk├Ânen pointed the finger at┬á Athletics South Africa for Semenya’s exclusion from OPEX. ÔÇ£When they told SASCOC that Caster was not practising, ASA gave the wrong information. I really hope that this case will be solved as soon as possible.
ÔÇ£There are many good athletes, but where is the organisation that should support the athletes and their coaches? When a top athlete like Caster is injured, everybody should support the athlete and not try to kill her motivation.
ÔÇ£HPC in Pretoria has supported Caster all the time and I am very grateful for the help of their physios and doctors. As I have said, Caster is practising and if all goes well she will compete this year.ÔÇØ