Semenya looks to put ordeal behind her on eve of comeback
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Thursday 15 July 2010
Tonight in a far corner of Finland, some 20 miles from the Russian border, Caster Semenya will make her return to the track 11 months after winning the World Championships and being ordered by the IAAF to undergo gender tests.
The 19-year-old South African was finally cleared to run again competitively earlier this month and her Finnish manager, Jukka Harkonen, chose the Lappeenranta Games for her comeback. The women's 800 metres, unsurprisingly, will be the last race of the night in the modest Kimpinen Stadium. "It is like having a lottery win," was how the director of this normally low-key event, Jarmo Viskari, described Semenya's appearance.
Despite what has been a very public ordeal, Semenya said she was "not bitter" about the experience and she will not seek to take any action against the IAAF. "I'm not bitter toward anyone," she said. "I'm not even sure if I have been treated fairly or unfairly. If this had to be done like it was, then so be it."
International suspicions had originally been aroused last year when she lowered her personal best by four seconds at an event in Mauritius. She was instructed by the IAAF to take a gender test, after which the sport's governing body asked South Africa not to include her in their team for the World Championships. That request was ignored and she won thrillingly in Berlin in a time of 1:55.45, the best of last year.
Her ambitions tonight are much more modest. She has been overlooked by South Africa for the African championships later this month for fitness reasons and this evening is all about the first small step on the road to winning gold in October's Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Her coach, Michael Seme, said to expect a modest time of around 2min 4sec. "We are not expecting a good time," he said. "By the Commonwealths we will make sure everything is back and we will grab that gold medal."
Latest in Sport
Lionel Messi dumps Jerome Boateng: The moment two-goal hero made Bayern Munich defender look like a 'baby in a playpen'
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich match report: Lionel Messi double and Neymar strike put Barca on course for Champions League final
Floyd Mayweather mocks Manny Pacquiao: 'Winners win and losers have excuses'
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings
Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in top eight of Forbes Rich List
- 1 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...