Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
11 Apr 2014
6:20 am

Caster targets comeback title

Wesley Botton

Athletics star Caster Semenya will gauge her fitness level when she makes her season debut at the two-day SA Senior Athletics Championships which get under way in Pretoria today.

Caster Semenya during the SuperSport United media open day at Groenkloof Sports Complex on January 14, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Semenya’s coach Maria Mutola said last month she hoped her charge would dip under two minutes at the national championships, but the SA record-holder said yesterday she was more concerned about regaining the two-lap crown.

“My target is the European season, so I can’t really tell at the moment if I’m in good shape,” Semenya said.

“The most important thing for me is the national title, and if I keep working hard the times will come.”

Semenya won the first of her three SA senior crowns in 2009, at the age of 18, and was victorious again in 2011 and 2012, but she missed last year’s championships in Stellenbosch with a knee injury that kept her sidelined for 11 months.

“I’m not worried about tactics. It’s the national championships so we all want to run our best, and it’s all about the title.”

Meanwhile, some tight battles are expected in the high-altitude capital city.

National 100m record-holder Simon Magakwe is set to face rising sprint star Akani Simbine, as Anaso Jobodwana keeps an eye from his base in the United States, with the race intensifying for the country’s first sub-10 second performance.

Training partners LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks will square off in the men’s 400m hurdles, while Zarck Visser is scheduled to compete in the men’s long jump, and his accomplished mentor, Khotso Mokoena, is pencilled in for the triple jump.

Sunette Viljoen should dominate the women’s javelin throw final, while middle-distance runners Andre Olivier (800m) and Johan Cronje (1 500m) will line up as favourites in their specialist events.

Veteran Commonwealth champion Chris Harmse is aiming to extend his own record for the most SA senior titles with a 19th consecutive win in the men’s hammer throw.