Semenya misses out on World Champs

Hezekiél Sepeng says former world champion Caster Semenya needs a rest.

Olympic silver medallist in the women's 800 metres, Caster Semenya. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Former 800m World champion HezekiƩl Sepeng says it's a blessing in disguise that Caster Semenya has failed to qualify for the World Championships in Moscow.

Semenya missed a place at the 2013 World Championships by 0.36 seconds at a race meet in Belgium on Sunday.

The 800m runner, who collected gold and silver at the last two world events, won her race by clocking 2:01.

She needed 2:00.00 or better to match the A-standard time and at least 2:01.50 to squeeze into the team via a B-standard time.

But Sepeng says Semenya's not been at her best this year and needs to find her form again.

"It's a good thing for us just to sit back and fix other things. She ran World Championships in 2011; Olympic Games in 2012 now it was the World Championships and in 2014 it's the Commonwealth Games followed by the Olympics. Sometimes having to take a break is not a bad thing."

Semenya's been out with an injury for several months, and Sepeng says she now needs to work on getting back to her best.

'We're looking at it in a positive way. Its a good way to sit down and look at your mistakes and refresh again."

Earlier in July, Athletics South Africa (ASA) named a provisional squad of 30 athletes, with Semenya being the most notable omission.

ASA president James Evans said they believed she'll make it.

"The one problem with Caster is you never know which Caster is going to arrive. If the right Caster arrives she'll probably run a 1:56. I'm pretty confident she's got the ability but the conditions must be right and she'll do it."

Evans says Semenya has steadily improved in 2013 but might be short of competition time heading into the qualifying race.

"She's been out for the whole of this year with that [knee] injury. You can put it together in training but that doesn't mean you're going to do it in racing conditions. So it normally takes two or three races to get back into racing form."