Caster joins Wayde and Akani in going for double glory
OLYMPIC 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya will likely race for double gold at the IAAF World Championships in London after she requested to be entered in the 1500m at the global showpiece.
Semenya will be the third South African to attempt a double, with world record holder Wayde van Niekerk going for the 200/400m double and Akani Simbine racing the 100 and 200m.
Announcing the final team following an appeal by athletes who were left out, Athletics SA (ASA) confirmed Semenya would attempt the double.
“Caster Semenya has appealed to be entered for... both the 800m and the 1500m,” ASA said.
“ASA has approved the appeal as Caster Semenya is the current CAA African Champion in the 800m and 1500m.”
Three more names were added to the team after the IAAF invited the SA women’s 4x400m relay team to participate in the London championships.
Justine Palframan, Gena Lofstrand and Ariane Nel will be part of the relay team that also includes Semenya and 400m hurdles ace Wenda Nel.
World Student Games 400m champion Palframan will also be racing in the 200m while Lofstrand will be able to compete in the 800m.
“We are proud to announce the additional names into our final team for these championships,” said ASA president Aleck Skhosana.
“We believe that this is one of our strongest teams ever for a global championship in recent years, with the selectors having focused on excellence in our team.
“We wish each athlete the best of luck and we trust they will be able to perform at their best at one of the highest stages of international athletics.”
ASA have come under severe criticism for largely omitting athletes who have met IAAF qualifying standards.
ASA had made the unpopular decision of setting their own standards, which were markedly tougher than the IAAF’s.
ASA defended their decision not to select all athletes who met the IAAF standards by claiming their policy was “aligned with SRSA (Sport and Recreation SA) to present a winning team to support the vision of SRSA to be a winning nation”.