Caster faces fi­nal bid to qual­ify for world cham­pi­onships

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

CASTER SE­MENYA will need to run hard from the gun and avoid get­ting caught in a tac­ti­cal bat­tle, ac­cord­ing to her agent Jukka Harko­nen, in her fi­nal bid to qual­ify for the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships this week­end.

Se­menya will com­pete in the women’s 800m event at the Flan­ders Cup meet­ing in Ni­nove, Bel­gium, to­day.

“Caster needs to run her own race,” Harko­nen said on Thurs­day night.

Se­menya won her come­back race last week af­ter a lengthy lay- off, but was well out­side the qual­i­fy­ing stan­dard for the world cham­pi­onships, clock­ing a pedes­trian 2:06.58 at the Lahti Games in Fin­land.

It was her first com­pet­i­tive out­ing since last year’s Lon­don Olympic Games, af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a long-term knee prob­lem.

She had un­der­gone ex­ten­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion to cor­rect an im­bal­ance in her leg strength due to the ef­fects of an op­er­a­tion she had as a child.

Se­menya im­proved her sea- son’s best by more than two sec­onds in Lapin­lahti on Sun­day, win­ning the two-lap race at the Savo Games in 2:04.48, but again failed to qual­ify.

And while she won both races in Fin­land, Harko­nen warned she would need to treat the race in Ni­nove as a time trial and ward off any dan­ger of be­ing drawn into a con­test with the rest of the field.

“She was ca­pa­ble of run­ning the qual­i­fy­ing time al­ready in Fin­land on Sun­day, but she ran the first 400m slower than the sec- ond,” he said.

Ath­let­ics South Africa in­cluded seven ath­letes with B-stan­dard qual­i­fy­ing per­for­mances in the pro­vi­sional team named last week, in­di­cat­ing that Se­menya, a medal­ist at the last two world cham­pi­onships, would be added to the squad with a 2:01.50 B-stan­dard per­for­mance, and would not need to chase the 2:00.00 A-stan­dard.

The qual­i­fy­ing dead­line for next month’s show­piece in Moscow, Rus­sia, is on Mon­day. – Sapa

LAST CHANCE: Caster Se­menya must run hard from the gun.

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