Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
13 Feb 2018
7:01 am

Caster Semenya chasing SA record in Pretoria

Wesley Botton

The local queen of the track has her sights on eclipsing Ilze Wicksell's time set in 1983 in a thrilling race against Zola Budd.

World 800m champion Caster Semenya is the latest elite athlete to be unveiled in the start lists for the inaugural Athletix Grand Prix track and field series next month, with 1 000m and 1 500m races on the cards.

Tackling the rarely run 1 000m distance at the second leg of the campaign in Pretoria, Semenya said on Tuesday she would have one eye on the long-standing national record of 2:37.20 held by Ilze Wicksell, who edged out 16-year-old Zola Budd by 0.70 to set the mark in a hard-fought battle in Bloemfontein in February 1983.

Semenya, the SA 800m record holder, should give the 1 000m standard a real shake in her first domestic top-flight race of the season, in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in April.

“My training is going very well,” she told the organisers.

“I am fit, I am confident and if the conditions are right, I may just see how close I can get to the record.”

Semenya would also compete in the 1 500m race at the third and final leg of the Grand Prix campaign in Paarl on March 22.

She joined a growing entry list for the series, which already featured world 100m champion Justin Gatlin of the US, national 100m record holder Akani Simbine and World Championships 10 000m silver medallist Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda.

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