Caster Semenya's manager says the runner's surprisingly slow performance at a meet in Italy on Tuesday can be explained by fatigue and sickness.
Semenya finished a distant ninth at the Palio della Quercia in Rovereto. In her fifth race after an 11-month gender dispute, she clocked a dismal 2min 7.16sec – nearly seven seconds behind Italian winner Elisa Cusma Piccione.
Semenya's Finnish manager, Jukka Harkonen, said she "just had a bad day", adding that "she's a 19-year-old girl and she hasn't done a lot of races like this before. She wasn't ready and we have to accept that."
Race director Luigi D'Onofrio was not satisfied by the explanation. "There's no certainty she did it on purpose. I mean why would she? It hurts both her and the meet," D'Onofrio said. "But it's not a good enough explanation for me."