I’m supernatural, says Semenya, as she pursues Olympics 200m slot

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Double Olympics 800-metre champion Caster Semenya called herself “supernatural” this weekend after saying she hoped to compete in the 200m at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The 29-year-old South African cannot defend her 800m title as she refuses to abide by World Athletics testosterone-reducing regulations covering races between 400m and the mile.

“I call myself supernatural,” said the three-time world 800m champion after clocking 23.49 seconds to win a provincial championships 200m final in Pretoria.

The time she set here leaves her 0.69 sec outside the time needed to qualify for the July 24-August 9 Tokyo Olympics.

Semenya will have at least four chances during April to lower her time to at least 22.80 sec and secure a place in the South African Olympics team.

She can compete in three Athletics South Africa Grand Prix meetings and at the national championships.

The champion was thrilled at her latest 200m time, having slashed 0.77 sec off her 2019 personal best in two races spanning seven days.

“We are chopping the times and I call myself supernatural. I can do anything I want,” she told reporters.

“You now me – I always challenge myself. This (switching from 800m to 200m) was not an easy decision to make.

“I am used to running two laps and then you come and run half a lap. You have to adjust, which is not easy, but anything is possible.”

South African 800-metre Olympic champion Caster Semenya competes in the women’s 200m finals during the Athletics Gauteng North Championships. PHOTO: AFP