Semenya narrowly failed to qualify for this month’s IAAF World Championships after making a last-ditch attempt following recovery and rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.
“We did not want to risk anything before the world championships so we didn’t want her pushing herself to the limit when she tried to qualify,” Mutola said this week. “But she knows all the people she’s running against in Zurich and she’s ready.”
Mutola, however, said they would need to remain wary of pushing the two-lap specialist too hard for the rest of the season, in order to ensure she is ready for next year’s African Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games. “This year she needs to build her confidence.
“She has not broken two minutes this season, so that’s our focus at the moment and we’re hoping she will win this race.” Meanwhile, world championships bronze medallist Johan Cronje said he hoped to build on his impressive form in the men’s 1500m race.
Cronje had been tied up with commitments at work and home after returning from the global showpiece in Moscow last week, but was confident he would be able to brush aside any distractions and hold his own in Zurich. “I’ve been rushing around since I got back, trying to get everything done,” he said.
“For the first few days I was on the phone doing media interviews, and then I had things to do at home and I needed to catch up at work, so it’s been a hectic period.”
Khotso Mokoena, who was seventh at the world championships, and Zarck Visser, who failed to reach the final, will compete in the men’s long jump in Zurich. Sunette Viljoen, sixth in Moscow, hopes to close out a relatively disappointing season with a solid showing in the women’s javelin throw.