Semenya to do 1500m and 800m double at the world champs

25 July 2017 - 20:08 By David Isaacson
Caster Semenya.
Caster Semenya.
Image: NTB SCANPIX

Caster Semenya will join Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine by going for doubles at the world championships in London next month.

Athletics SA (ASA) said in a circular that she wanted to add the 1500m to the 800m.

Van Niekerk will do the 400m-200m double and Simbine the 100m-200m.

ASA said its women’s 4x400m relay team had been invited to compete.

The federation first said three athletes were added to the world championship squad of 23‚ and then in the afternoon upped that to four when Zoe Engler was named alongside Justine Palframan‚ Gena Lofstrand and Ariane Nel.

They will team up with Semenya and 400m hurdler Wenda Nel for the relay.

At least 38 SA athletes had achieved the qualifying standards set by the world governing body‚ the IAAF.

But ASA imposed tougher standards which only 18 of those managed to beat.

Of the remaining 20 athletes‚ ASA had picked only five on discretion‚ although that increases to six with the addition Palframan‚ who will now get to compete in the 200m after all.

Appeals by the other excluded athletes failed.

ASA said Lofstrand would be allowed to compete in the 800m‚ even though she didn’t achieve the IAAF standard in this event.

Ariane Nel is there for the relay only.

Semenya had achieved ASA’s standard in the 800m and the IAAF standard in the 1500m‚ by virtue of her winning this race at the African championships in Durban last year.

“Semenya has appealed to be entered ... in both the 800m and the 1500m. ASA has approved the appeal as Semenya is the current CAA African Champion in the 800m and 1500m‚” ASA said in the circular.

That means Semenya will compete on the opening day of the world championships‚ in the 1500m heats on August 4. The semifinals are scheduled for August 5 and the final on August 7.

She will get two fulls days off before the 800m heats on August 10‚ with the semifinals the following day and the final on August 13.

Semenya is ranked No1 in the world in the 800m‚ and her 4min 01.99sec 1500m personal best from last year ranked her 14th in 2016. However‚ that time would have earned her gold at the Rio Olympics.

The heats of the women’s 4x400m relay are on August 12 with the final the next day coming 45 minutes after the women’s 800m decider.

- TimesLIVE

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