Rio Olympics gold medallist Semenya now targets Europe

Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates after winning the 800m women. Picture Credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegman
Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates after winning the 800m women. Picture Credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegman

After the successful defence of her 400m and 800m national titles at the weekend, Caster Semenya will round off her domestic campaign at the University Sport SA (Ussa) Games that start in Cape Town on Thursday until Saturday.

"I am going to the Ussa Games to get ready for the [IAAF] Diamond League," the Rio Olympics gold medallist told Sowetan.

Semenya will start her international campaign in Doha on May 6 with her other appearances confirmed in at least three other competitions of the lucrative international one-day meetings.

"I'm also going to Oregon [on May 27], Oslo [on June 15] and Stockholm [on June 18]," she added. Her turnout in the 800m at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships in Potchfestroon, North West, at the weekend was her first competition in the two-lap event, which she claimed in 2mins 1.03 secs.

"The Diamond [League] won't be easy because I haven't done 800m in almost eight months and most girls have already started with the world indoors tour. I am happy with the 2:01 [from Saturday] but 1:58 to 1:59 will be perfect. We're still planning to maybe run 400m or 1 500m to sharpen up a bit before the Diamond but the aim is not about running a lot of races."

South African athletics have been over-reliant on Semenya for international medals in mid-distance but she believes that a few others have raised their hands to take over the baton.

"There is Gena [Lofstrand ] and Anuscha [Nice]. They just need to focus more on training and not rush into competition, that's where our girls lack," said Semenya of the two who trailed her in the 800m final on Saturday. Lofstrand, 21, succeeded Semenya as the SA 800m champion in 2013.

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