Semenya gears up for attack on world record
Her coach is confident the champion athlete will be able to break the 800m record next season
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 time set in 1983‚ but her coach, Samuel Sepeng, says they are in the planning stages of 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‚” said Sepeng.
“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 this season ahead of a campaign that includes the 2019 World Championships in Doha in September and October, where she will be defending her 800m crown.
“We are going to start our preparations easy and build up slowly and nicely‚” said Sepeng. “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 SA 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. Sepeng could not indicate which event and country they are targeting to achieve their world record mission.
“I know that 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‚ named the Sports Star of the year‚ Sports woman of the year and People’s Choice at the SA awards at the weekend‚ can do it, he added.
“I believe Semenya will ultimately break the record. Last season‚ we did 49:62 in 400m‚ 2:30.70 in 1,000m and 3:59.92 in 1,500m. This shows that speed is there even in endurance races‚ but we must go back to the drawing board and work even harder,” he said.
Semenya continued to impress on the local and international stages despite distractions from the International Association of Athletics Federations, which is questioning her eligibility.
Sepeng said they are focused on their work rather than the distractions. “She is a strong person naturally and those issues are handled by the legal team.”
We are “not listening to the outside noise‚” said Sepeng.