Caster Semenya. Picture: ROGER SEDRES/GALLO IMAGES
Caster Semenya. Picture: ROGER SEDRES/GALLO IMAGES

Caster Semenya tore nearly half a second off her 200m personal best in a league race at the weekend‚ strengthening speculation that she is turning to the shorter sprint to stay in athletics.

Since refusing to take testosterone-lowering medication‚ the two-time Olympic 800m champion is forbidden from competing in any event from 400m to the mile.

After breaking the SA 300m record in Johannesburg in February there has been talk that she is focusing on the 200m.

Semenya clocked 23.81sec at the Tuks track in Pretoria on Saturday‚ the university’s athletics club said. That knocked 0.45sec off her 24.26 previous best from 2019‚ but if she wants to get to the Tokyo Olympics in the 200m‚ she will need to improve by more than a second to crack the 22.80 qualifying time.

For a medal she would need at least a low 22sec.

Semenya owns SA records in six events from 300m to 1‚500m‚ but she is still far off Evette de Klerk’s 22.06 national mark from 1989.

She was No 1 in the world in the 800m and inside the top 10 in the 400m and 1‚500m‚ but she seems to have her work cut out beyond that band.

Semenya is set to compete at the Gauteng North championships at the same venue on Friday and Saturday‚ when she is expected to formally announce her plans for the season.

She is still waiting for the Swiss federal court to hear her appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to allow World Athletics’ rules for female eligibility.

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