Caster back on the track

TWO-LAP specialist Caster Semenya makes her first official appearance on the track in Finland today, 11 months after winning the 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in Germany.

The meet in Finland has generated massive interest from the international media, many of whom have been reporting on Semenya since her historic victory in Berlin.

The 19-year-old Semenya was given the green light by the International Association of Athletics Federations to continue running as a woman last week.

It has been widely speculated that Semenya received medical treatment last year.

She was forced to sit on the sidelines while an 11-month probe into her gender status took place.

Despite concerns over her fitness, Semenya, who is the 13th fastest woman in history after her win in Berlin in 1:55.45 last year, is looking forward to doing well at this low-level meeting.

Semenya's coach Michael "Sponge" Seme said the University of Pretoria sports management student was not under pressure going into this meeting. "Caster is going to take things easy as part of her gradual return to competition, there is no pressure because the bigger picture for us is the Commonwealth Games in India in October.

"She is going to run her own race in terms of our plans, not according to other people elsewhere."

Semenya's fitness level also resulted in her being excluded from the South African team for the Africa Championships in Nairobi in two weeks' time. The good news for Semenya ahead of tonight's meet is that German Athletics want to invite her to compete at the Olympics Stadium where she won the world title. But that will depend on her performance in Finland today.

Concerned Athletes representative Sam Mlangeni wished Semenya good luck.

"We are happy Caster is back, we have always maintained that Caster is a woman and are looking to her to continue making us proud across the globe."

  • l SuperSport 2 will broadcast both 800m races from Finland, with coverage starting at 7pm. Semenya's race starts at 7.25pm.