Semenya will run in Finland next week, agent says

HELSINKI,  (Reuters) – South African world 800 metres  champion Caster Semenya will return to competition next Thursday  in the Finnish town of Lappeenranta, after an enforced break due  to controversial gender tests, her agent said.

“If nothing extraordinary happens she will compete in  Lappeenranta,” Jukka Harkonen told Reuters yesterday.

“She is suffering from mild ‘flu, which is the only thing  that could impact it, but we have booked flights and agreed on  everything.”

Semenya, who was cleared to compete as a woman by the  International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on  Tuesday, has not run competitively since undergoing gender tests  at the Berlin world championships in August. [ID:nLDE6651KR]

The Lappeenranta Games will be held on July 15 in the  southeastern Finnish town, some 220 kms from the capital  Helsinki.

“There are a few small competitions held in July and there  is no point to start from a big competition. It better to get  competition feeling from smaller ones,” Harkonen said, adding  that the fact that he was Finnish also had some bearing on the  decision.

He said there had been talks about other competitions which  Semenya might attend after Lappeenranta, but that no decisions  had been made.

Semenya sprang to prominence last year with her rapid  improvement over 800 metres. Her winning time in Berlin of one  minute 55.45 seconds was the fastest of 2009.

On Wednesday, the 19-year-old South African ran 600 metres  in fitness tests to determine if she was ready to compete after  the long absence.

Her coach Michael Seme has said Semenya will not compete in  the world junior championships in Canada later this month but  might run in the African championships, which start on July 28.

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