Semenya has eyes on Commonwealth Games
World 800-metre champ hopes to make South African team to be named Aug. 25
Caster Semenya must wait to see if she is included in South Africa's Commonwealth Games team after the country's Olympic body said Wednesday it would only finalize its track and field lineup in late August.
SASCOC named a 115-strong squad for the competition in India but said a "final amendment" would be made on Aug. 25, when it will announce the athletics and rugby sevens teams.
South Africa will compete in 15 sports at the Oct. 3-14 Commonwealth Games, but the 800-metre world champion is likely to grab all the attention if, as expected, she makes her return to major competition in New Delhi.
Semenya made a low-key comeback from an 11-month layoff following gender tests by winning both her recent races in Finland.
She ran times of two minutes 4.22 seconds and 2:02.41 in her first competitive outings for nearly a year — some way off the 1:55.45 she clocked in Berlin last August to win gold at the world championships.
Now 19, Semenya was not included in South Africa's team for the ongoing world junior championships in Moncton or next week's African Championships after she failed a fitness test on July 7, the day after she was cleared to run again.
That led coach Michael Seme and Athletics South Africa, the national federation, to say she should target the Commonwealth Games as her first high-profile event since her return.
Semenya is expected to make the team and Athletics South Africa has said it would do all it can to help her prepare for the Commonwealth Games.
Semenya returned to South Africa from Finland on Tuesday morning to continue her training and her manager, Jukka Harkonen, has said she will be back in Europe in August for more meets, although he wouldn't offer any details.
In Wednesday's statement, SASCOC president Gideon Sam said the Commonwealth Games would be the beginning of South Africa's buildup to the next Olympics.
"This will be an excellent test of whether our policy of 'only the best' will show results," Sam said. "The performance of this team will also give us an indication of how well we are doing on the road to the London Olympics in 2012."
The team also includes swimmer Roland Schoeman, an Olympic gold medallist in 2004, Paralympic swimmer Natalie du Toit and Tour de France cyclist Robbie Hunter.