Semenya defends title but fails to beat Olympic qualifying time


PORT ELIZABETH (South Africa): Caster Semenya retained her 800m title at the South African athletics championships on Saturday but was still well outside the qualifying time for the London Olympics.

The world silver medallist led the two-lap final almost from start to finish but could only manage 2:02.68 with no one to push her below the 1:59.90 needed to be eligible for South Africa’s team in London.

“It was alright for me because I retained my title, that’s what’s important,” Semenya said. “It was disappointing because we were hoping for a qualifying time, and unfortunately we didn’t make it but the time will come. We just need to be patient.”

Amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius finished seventh in the men’s 400m final in 47.28, backing off in the last 50 metres after he struggled to recover from a slow start despite running in lane two.

Lebogang Moeng won in 45.75, but Pistorius is still the only men’s 400m runner in South Africa to post an Olympic qualifying time this year after his season–opening 45.20 last month.

He needs one more run of 45.30 or faster on his carbon fibre blades in an overseas event to be eligible to go to London. – AP

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