LONDON: South African 800m runner Caster Semenya said her controversial victory in the 2009 outdoor world championships was behind her and she was solely focussed on adding an Olympic gold.
The 21-year-old, who is coached by 2000 Sydney Olympics 800m champion Mutola from Mozambique, had to undergo drug and gender tests following that magnificent victory in Berlin. The situation spiralled out of control with Caster complaining of ‘unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being’.
Injury ruined Semenya’s comeback
She was barred from the track for almost a year before being cleared to run again and her comeback was hampered by a lower back injury and a growing belief that coach Michael Seme had taken her as far as he could.
However, she said that the nightmare was all in the past and she wanted to go on and win gold in London — something if she does achieve she will dedicate to the increasingly frail South African political icon Nelson Mandela.
“That is in the past,” she said. “You need to concentrate on the future. I don’t have to entertain those things now.
“I can concentrate on my running. With each year I experience I become a more relaxed athlete than before. I know what is important to listen to and what to ignore.
“I always try to run my best but sometimes I don’t and I have to deal with negatives. People ask questions that can make you sad, but I must always stay positive.”
Estonia star Kanepi pulls out of Olympics
Meanwhile, Estonian tennis star Kaia Kanepi has been forced to pull out of the Baltic nation’s Olympic team due to a heel injury that also sidelined her from Wimbledon in June.
“An ultrasound examination showed that Kaia’s heels have not recovered as fast as we had hoped,” said a statement on the world number 16’s official website.
“Her doctor said that increasing practice intensity now would eventually lead to an even longer injury break.”
Kanepi, 27, was one of the biggest names in Estonia’s 34-member Olympic delegation and the country’s lone London-bound tennis player.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2012.
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