SA's Caster tipped for gold

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Berlin - South African 800m runner Caster Semenya is widely tipped to claim a gold medal in the final tonight at the 12th International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships.

The 18-year-old Caster cruised into the final of the event held in Berlin - making her the world's fastest 800m woman runner this year.

Caster, who hails from a remote part of the Limpopo province, clocked 1:58.66 to win her semi-finals, relegating Kenyan world champion Janeth Jepkosgei to third.

Caster became the only fourth South African to break through the two minute record, and in doing so took over two seconds from Zelda Pretorius's 1991 record.

Responding to Caster's performance, Athletics South Africa (ASA) said they were delighted with her achievement so far.

"Her performance, which underlines new South African Junior and Senior records respectively, is unbelievable, and leaves us over-the- moon.

"As ASA we will continue to support talented young athletes, like her, in preparation for major international events," ASA said on their website.

Meanwhile, head of the South African team at the World Athletics Championships Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane has dismissed claims that Caster would undergo gender testing ahead of her participation in the final.

This after the Australian media reported that officials from the IAAF would perform gender tests on Caster. They claimed that Caster's appearance, including obvious facial hair, and muscular build, ignited speculation about her gender.