Semenya will grab gold in October, coach says

Johannesburg: World 800 metres champion Caster Semenya, returning to competition after an enforced break for controversial gender tests, will be back at her peak in October and will take the Commonwealth Games gold, her coach said.

"Now she is not in the shape she was in Berlin (world championships). But we will work on that," Michael Seme told journalists in the Finnish town of Lappeenranta on Wednesday.

"During the Commonwealth Games we will make sure everything is back and we will grab that gold medal."

If the South African could run one minute 55 or 56 seconds in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi that should be enough to win, Seme added.

Semenya, who was cleared to compete as a woman last week by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has not run competitively since undergoing tests at the Berlin world championships in August. Her winning time there of 1:55.45 was the fastest of 2009.

Seme said they were not expecting a very fast time on Thursday, when Semenya returns to competition in this town some 220 kms from Helsinki.

After two competitions in Finland, she would go home to build up her fitness, he said, adding that her team aimed "to do things carefully, not in a rush. We will take it steady."

Semenya`s agent, Finn Jukka Harkonen, said the South African had received invitations to a dozen competitions and that she might return to compete in Europe in August.

On Monday, Athletics South Africa (ASA) decided to leave Semenya out of the team for this month`s African championships, but said they could consider her for the Commonwealth Games.

Bureau Report

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