Caster Semenya included in South Africa’s Commonwealth Games team

By Gerald Imray, AP
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Semenya heading to Commonwealth Games in India

JOHANNESBURG — Caster Semenya will return to major competition at the Commonwealth Games in India after she was included in South Africa’s team on Wednesday.

The country’s Olympic committee, SASCOC, selected the 800-meter world champion as one of 32 athletes, swimmers, cyclists and rugby sevens players added to South Africa’s initial 115-strong team for the Oct. 3-14 games in Delhi, which was announced last month.

“I’m very happy to see the return of Caster Semenya to duty for South Africa,” SASCOC president Gideon Sam said. “We have observed her progress closely since the IAAF cleared her to run and it’s good to hear her say that she’s focusing all her efforts on the Commonwealths.”

Semenya has won all three of her comeback races since she was cleared to run by world athletics body, the IAAF, following an 11-month break because of a gender dispute.

She beat a strong field at the ISTAF meet on her return to Berlin on Sunday to continue her winning return to the sport, although public comments by at least two athletes, questioning Semenya’s eligibility, have reignited the debate over the teenager’s gender status.

“We are not bothered by those comments,” Athletics South Africa acting head Ray Mali told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “We are all excited that she is back in the team. I watched the meet in Berlin on Sunday and was quite happy to see the way she was received by the crowd.

“Caster is back and the world has accepted Caster is back.”

Mali added Semenya’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games were going very well. She ran 1 minute, 59.90 seconds at the ISTAF meet, the first time she ran under two minutes since her return.

“The fact that she’s unbeaten in her three races thus far and has improved her time on each occasion is good news for our medal effort in New Delhi,” Sam said.

Semenya will run later this week at the Diamond League final in Brussels and at two meets in Italy in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

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