Semenya targeting European return
Johannesburg: Caster Semenya will make her comeback at a European meet but is not fit enough to compete at the world junior championships in Canada, the 800-meter world champion`s coach said.
Michael Seme said the 19-year-old South African athlete is looking to run in "one or two" meets in Europe before making her return to major competition at the African championships in Kenya, which begin July 28.
"We can`t go straight to a big meeting," Seme said, "so we are preparing for one or two races before that."
"It will be European competition," he said.
Semenya`s agent will decide at which event Semenya will make her long-awaited return, Seme said.
Semenya was cleared to return yesterday by the International Association of Athletics Federations, ending an 11-month stalemate over her status following gender verification tests.
Semenya, who can continue running as a woman, has not raced competitively since winning the 800-meter world title in Berlin in August 2009.
"It is not easy," Seme said, "but just to be there is important and get the body used to it again."
"Caster is happy that she will be back in action but we must make sure she is training properly," Seme said.
Seme said the world junior championships in the Canadian city of Moncton, beginning July 19, were too early for Semenya.
"She is not fit enough for the junior championships," Seme said. "She has not failed, but she was not prepared for the junior championships."
Semenya ran two 600-meter trials at her training base in Pretoria today but her times were "not good enough for an 800-meter runner," according to her coach. Seme said Semenya ran times of one minute, 35 seconds and 1:38 in the trials. He said he expected her to be running around 1:30 over 600 meters.
South Africa`s national federation, Athletics South Africa, said it had requested that Semenya undergo a fitness test to see if she was ready to compete in Canada.
Semenya`s dramatic improvement in times and muscular build led the IAAF to order gender verification tests last year.