Reuters – Semenya qualifies for London Olympics
PRETORIA (Reuters) – Former world 800 metres champion Caster Semenya qualified for the London Olympics on Friday when she eased to victory in one minute 59.58 seconds at a Yellow Pages Series meeting.
Semenya, 21, underwent gender tests at the 2009 Berlin world championships where she won the 800 gold medal.
She did not compete for almost a year until the International Association of Athletics Federations cleared her to run again after accepting the conclusions of an expert medical panel.
The South African Olympic committee requires athletes to meet the qualifying time twice, one at a local meeting and once in an international competition.
Semenya reached her first qualifying mark when she finished second in last year’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders and I’m very happy with my time,” Semenya told reporters. “I just ran my own race and it went okay, it’s best that way and I enjoyed it, that’s why I qualified.”
Semenya failed to reach the qualifying standard in last weekend’s national championships in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, clocking 2:02.68 in windy conditions. On Friday she became the first woman in 21 years to run under two minutes on South African soil.
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Published April 21, 2012