Caster ready to show her old ri­vals her heels

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za

Now that Caster Se­menya has qual­i­fied for the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) World Cham­pi­onships, the for­mer global cham­pion is look­ing for­ward to rekin­dling her ri­valry with the Kenyans, although the top Rus­sian run­ners will be omi­nously ab­sent.

Rus­sian run­ners have dom­i­nated the 800m in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion scene, but are deal­ing with fresh al­le­ga­tions of dop­ing in the lead-up to the World Cham­pi­onships that start in Bei­jing, China, in a fort­night. Two of their big­gest stars will not be on the track.

Said Se­menya: “I am just happy to have qual­i­fied be­cause the ex­pec­ta­tions were high that I would re­turn to the world champs.” She slipped into the China-bound Team SA in a time of 2:00.72 in Linz, Aus­tria, last Satur­day.

The 24-year-old’s vic­tory marked her sea­son-best time, as she also met the re­quired 2:01.00 stan­dard en­try for Bei­jing.

Se­menya failed to qual­ify for the pre­vi­ous edi­tion in Moscow two years ago, and is yet to break the two-minute bar­rier since her 1:58.92 at an IAAF World Chal­lenge meet­ing in Italy in 2013.

“I am in good shape at the mo­ment, but I’m not go­ing to put pres­sure on my­self.

“I am just go­ing to run a good cham­pi­onship race,” said the 2009 world cham­pion.

Se­menya said she was ea­ger for fierce com­pe­ti­tion, as she has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in low-key in­ter­na­tional meet­ings dur­ing her resur­gence.

“I know the ri­vals [Rus­sian and Kenyan run­ners] have had good com­pe­ti­tions with im­pres­sive times [lead­ing to the Bei­jing show­piece].

“The cham­pi­onships race is go­ing to be fast.”

Kenya has named de­fend­ing world cham­pion Eu­nice Jep­koech Sum (27) and 2011 bronze medal­list Janeth Jep­kos­gei (31) in their team.

PHOTO: BARRY ALD­WORTH / BACKPAGEPIX

FO­CUSED ON THE PODIUM The 23-year-old

Anaso Jo­bod­wana has

con­sis­tently fin­ished in the 200m top three in his Diamond League de­but

sea­son

PHOTO: BARRY ALD­WORTH / BACKPAGEPIX

CON­TENDERS Caster Se­menya will take on the Rus­sians and Kenyans in Bei­jing

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