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Semenya celebrates second successive win

Sport Desk |
Update: 2010-07-18 01:09:36
Semenya celebrates second successive win

HELSINKI : South African world champion Caster Semenya crowned her comeback week following an 11-month absence caused by a gender controversy with an easy victory in the 800m at a low-key meeting on Sunday.

Semenya clocked 2min 02.42sec in her favoured event at the Lapinlahti meet, improving by almost two seconds the time she set in her first outing since her lengthy break three days earlier.

Stepping on the gas over the last 250m, the 19-year-old world champion was too good for second-placed Sofia Oberg of Sweden, who timed 2min 04.27sec and Russia`s Anna Verkhovskaya, who came third in 2min 04.41sec.

Following her win, a smiling Semenya completed a lap of honour although the hard work still lies ahead with Sunday`s time a long way off her world title winning run of 1min 55.45sec in Berlin in 2009.

On Thursday, Semenya returned to action at Lappeenrenta, a small town 30km from the Russian border and 150km east of Helsinki, a deliberate low-profile choice aimed at keeping as many as the international media as possible off the scent.

She won that race in 2min 04.22sec.

On Sunday, she faced a more challenging task with three runners in the field having already gone faster than that Thursday time this season.

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

She hopes to take part in two or three races in Europe between the end of August and the start of September to finalise her preparations for the Commonwealth Games in India in October.

BDST: 2242 hrs, July 18, 2010

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