Semenya targets 800m world record

(L-R) Winny Chebet of Kenya, Caster Semenya of South Africa and Nicole Sifuentes of Canada competes in the Women's 1500 metres heats during day one of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 4, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
(L-R) Winny Chebet of Kenya, Caster Semenya of South Africa and Nicole Sifuentes of Canada competes in the Women's 1500 metres heats during day one of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 4, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

And for her next trick‚ multiple Olympic and world champion Caster Semenya has set her sights on breaking the longstanding 800m world record next season.

Semenya has so far failed to break Jarmila Kratochvílová’s 1:53.28 mark for the 800m, set in 1983‚ but her coach, Samuel Sepeng, says they are in the planning stages for pulling off a “miracle”.

“I don’t think we will compete in our 800m event locally during the coming season, to focus on longer distances for endurance‚” Sepeng said.

“If you are planning the miracle of breaking the world record‚ you must have a proper plan in place and we are going to sit down and come up with a proper plan.”

Sepeng and Semenya begin preparations for a long season this season ahead of a campaign that includes the 2019 World Championships in Doha in September and October where she will be looking to defend her 800m crown.

“We are going to start our preparations easy and build up slowly,” Sepeng said.

“Next season is going to be a long one because the World Championships are later in the year.

“We are going to take it one step at a time and for the South Africa season we are going to focus more on endurance.”

Semenya’s best time in the 800m last season was 1:54.25 in Paris‚ which is a national record and the fourth-fastest time ever.

But Sepeng could not indicate which event and country they are targeting to achieve their world record mission.

“I know everyone wants the world record‚” he said.

“Our focus for last season was to touch 1:54 and we did that three times if I am not mistaken.

“The bigger picture for the coming season is to continue where we ended up and go for 1:53 and here we are talking about the world record.”

He said Semenya‚ who was named the Sports Star of the Year‚ Sportswoman of the Year and People’s Choice at the SA awards at the weekend‚ could do it.

“I believe she will ultimately break the record,” Sepeng said.

“Last season‚ we did 49:62 in the 400m‚ 2:30.70 in 1,000m and 3:59.92 in 1,500m.

“This shows that the speed is there even in endurance races‚ but we must go back to the drawing board and work even harder.”

Semenya continued to impress on the local and international stages despite distractions from the IAAF, which is questioning her eligibility.

Sepeng‚ who was named Coach of the Year at the SA Sports Awards at the weekend‚ said they were focused on their work rather than on the distractions.

“She is a strong person naturally and those issues are handled by the legal team‚” he said.

“Our focus was on the work of ensuring that she was ready‚ fit to do what she does best on the track and not listening to the outside noise.” - TimesLIVE

X