JOHANNESBURG - Caster Semenya is putting her middle-distance career behind her, and focusing on the 200-metres.
The three-time 800-metre world champion made that clear this weekend at the Gauteng North Provincial Championships at the Tuks Stadium.
Semenya says from as far back as October last year she had been thinking about converting to the shorter distances.
“Obviously when I didn’t do the World Champs, I decided, you know what, I want to do something new, something fresh, I just want to be somewhere where I’m not comfortable,” Semenya said.
After some speculation about her next move, the double Olympic Champion announced her plans for the Tokyo Games.
Her time of 23.49 in the 200m at the AGN Champs is less than a second off the IOC’s qualifying standard of 22.8 seconds.
The decorated middle-distance superstar admits the switch has been an adjustment.
“200-meters really isn’t a challenge, the challenge is how to do it, because you have to master a lot of things, you have to start quickly, you have to slip on the bend, you have to keep your high knees, so it’s crazy, but I’m enjoying it,” she said.
With an unbeaten run in the 800 metres stretching back to 2015, 29-year-old Semenya says she won’t be putting pressure on herself in her new distance but it might be hard for local athletics fans to contain their expectations, given her winning pedigree on the track.