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Caster says she’ll get quicker

Our world 800m champion Caster Semenya said after  her best time of the season, one minute 59.65 seconds, to finish third on her Diamond League debut on Friday night that she had hopes of going faster as she put a troubled year behind her.

The 19-year-old South African had to sit out of competition for 11 months after her astonishing gold-medal performance at last August’s Berlin world championships while controversial gender tests were completed.

Semenya was cleared to race again last month and made her return in a couple of low-key races in Finland before appearing in Berlin, the site of her world title win, last weekend and breaking two minutes for victory.

“One minute 57 would be a good time for this year,” Semenya told Reuters after her first defeat of the season on Friday.

“I will be better with more races so I can run faster. No competition, no run fast,” she added with a smile.

Semenya sprang to prominence last year with her rapid improvement over 800 metres and won the world title in 1:55.45 — the fastest time of 2009.

Included in South Africa’s squad for the Commonwealth Games in October, Semenya took the cautious approach in Brussels, running the first lap at the back of the pack.

She moved up the field on the outside in the final 200 but could not match the speed of former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya and European gold medallist Mariya Savinova, who was second.

“I wasn’t expecting to run fast like that,” she said. “I’m happy with the time.”