Breaking Zola Budd’s record one of the highlights of Caster Semenya's life

17 April 2018 - 13:50 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
South Africa's Caster Semenya celebrates with flag after winning the athletics women's 800m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
South Africa's Caster Semenya celebrates with flag after winning the athletics women's 800m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
Image: SAEED KHAN / AFP

Caster Semenya will not get an opportunity to put up her feet and catch her breath after the recent Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

The two-time 800m world champion will instead spend the next month with her coaching team reviewing her performances in preparations for what is expected to be another busy season on the track.

Since the beginning of the year‚ Semenya competed in the Athletix Grand Prix Series and the South African Senior Athletics Champions before going on to win gold medals in the 800m and 1 500m events at the Commonwealth Games.

Though her programme for the remainder of the year has not been finalised yet‚ Semenya is expected to be back on the track in May for the start of the IAAF Diamond League Series in Doha where she is the defending her 800m title.

“The main thing for now is to get back to basics‚ be healthy and stay injury free throughout the season‚” she said.

“At the moment we are not too much worried.

"It is more about working on weaknesses so that I can get better.

"We are going to sit down and review what we have done so far and put more focus on specific things that will help me to improve.

"As a middle distance runner‚ focus is more on speed but it will be about more of the same from what we have been doing.”

Over the next few months‚ Semenya is going to focus on mastering her skills in the 1500m event and she is targeting a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“1 500 is one of the events that I looked into in previous years but it is not an easy race to run‚" she said.

"You need to master your skills and position yourself in the right place so that when you kick you destroy.

"It is 500m more after the bell and it is not easy to maintain that.

"But obviously with what we do at training we are ready to master this middle distance‚” she said‚ adding that breaking Zola Budd’s national record that stood for 34 years will stay with her for the rest of her life.

“The record was the main plan for this season and I knew that I was in good shape.

"It amazing to be able to break a 34 year old record‚ it is a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

This year‚ Semenya will also be taking part in the African Athletics Championships to be held in Nigeria in August which will be part of her build up to the World Athletics Championships in Doha next year.

“We will just have to do what we have been doing from the beginning of the year.

"We are ready for anything and we are never under pressure.

"Whenever I am on the track and know that I must perform and I have been in this business for about a decade and I am used to it.”


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