Agent coy over Semenya prospects


HELSINKI, July 15 – The agent of controversial South African athlete Caster Semenya said Wednesday he did not expect her to obtain top results at her first meeting since being allowed to run again as a female."The comeback is too early in respect of top results … She is very realistic about her (current) fitness level and does not try to cover it up," Semenya’s Finnish agent Jukka Haerkoenen told public broadcaster YLE.

He however noted the South African 800m world champion "will be ready in October for the Commonwealth Games, there is still enough time for that".

Haerkoenen was speaking from Lappeenranta, a town some 30km from the Russian border and 150km east of Helsinki, where Semenya will resume her running career on Thursday after an 11-month hiatus.

The 19-year-old was given the green light to run again last week, after a review by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of gender-verification tests.

Semenya has not run since leaked test results claimed she was a hermaphrodite following her win at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

She was resting on Wednesday and did not meet the press, but said in comments published in the Ilta-Sanomat afternoon paper she had long waited on the results allowing her to run again.

"11 months is too long a break from competing," she told the paper.

"First the results were supposed to be coming in March, then in June, and time stretched and stretched."

"I am not bitter about anybody. I do not even know if I am treated fairly or unfairly. I do not know the rules," she added.

"If one has to push through that, then I have succeeded," she said.

Her manager added she was happy to be competing again, and hoped the media would treat her normally and let her compete in peace.