Dominique Scott is unsure if she is capable of assisting Caster Semenya in her bid to break Zola Budd’s 34-year-old 1,500m record in Paarl on Thursday night‚ but she is happy to try if called upon.
Semenya’s 4min 01.99sec personal best from 2016 is a fraction off the 4:01.81 Budd ran in Port Elizabeth in 1984‚ but it is much quicker than Scott’s 4:08.04 best.
"I’m not sure how much I can help her [in her bid]‚" Scott said on Wednesday ahead of the Liquid Telecom meeting at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl.
"She’s asked for no pacers, which makes me believe that she doesn’t want anyone getting in her way and doesn’t want any help. It makes me believe that she can run 4:01 or quicker by herself.
"I’m not expecting her to ask me to help her‚ but if she wants my help I will definitely consider it because even if I’m in a national record-breaking race‚ that’s still exciting and I’d still be proud to help her out."
The last time Scott gave herself a chance of beating Semenya was when they lined up as juniors in a 1,500m race in 2008‚ when Semenya won by about two minutes.
Now she will be content if she can follow Semenya to a personal best.
"If I can hang on to her for as long as possible, and even when she starts pulling away‚ just stay tough and stay strong and keep the pace‚ then I think that I could come away with a PB [personal best]‚" said US-based Scott.
The 1,500m is a secondary event for both runners, with Semenya’s premier race being the 800m and Scott’s the 5‚000m. Scott admitted she had lacked focus during her college days. "I was dabbling between the 1,500m all the way to the 10‚000m and my training was all over the place.
"At an NCAA [collegiate] level I was able to do that and excel, whereas at international level I learnt in my first season I cannot be training for the 1,500 as well as the 10km. So this year we’re definitely trying to focus my training a bit more around the 3,000 and 5,000[m] events‚ and the 1,500m with my speed work‚" she said.
Scott said this had probably helped her indoor performances in February when she broke her own 1,500m (4:07.25) and 3,000m (8:41.18) records.
Akani Simbine will take on Simon Magakwe in the 100m‚ while Lindsay Hanekom‚ the national 400m hurdles king‚ will have a near rerun of the final from a week ago.
Carina Horn (women’s 100m)‚ Anaso Jobodwana (200m) and Justine Palframan (women’s 400m) are also on the programme‚ as is 2015 world javelin champion Julius Yego of Kenya.