Prudence Sekgodiso: ‘Nobody can beat me – but I’m not the next Caster Semenya’

Prudence Sekgodiso: ‘Nobody can beat me – but I’m not the next Caster Semenya’

Prudence Sekgodiso: ‘Nobody can beat me – but I’m not the next Caster Semenya’

Prudence Sekgodiso in action at the Kip Keino Classic in May
Prudence Sekgodiso saw the chasing pack to win the 800m at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi last month
dates: June 8-12 Location: Cote d’Or Stadium, Mauritius Session times (GMT, approximately): 04:30-09:30 & 11:00-14:00

South Africa’s emerging track and field star Prudence Sekgodiso expects to match compatriot Caster Semenya by taking her first international track title in Mauritius this weekend.

The 20-year-old will compete for the 800m title at the African Athletics Championships on the island where Semenya first shot forward.

Semenya won the 2009 Junior World Champion gold at the same distance before dominating the discipline the following decade.

Sekgodiso excelled in her debut Diamond League race in Morocco last Sunday, taking second place in challenging conditions.

“As it was my first race at that level, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t win,” Sekgodiso told BBC Sport Africa.

“If you look at what she did, it’s great to be compared to Caster, but to be honest I don’t like the comparison.

“It puts too much pressure on me. I’m trying to be the first Prudence, not the next Caster.”

Semenya is a two-time Olympic champion and three-time world champion in the 800 meters.

However, the 31-year-old has been banned from participating in her favorite event since 2018 due to: World Athletics DSD Rules About Testosterone Levels in female athletes.

In Semenya’s absence, Sekgodiso has already set one of her hero’s two-round records, becoming South Africa’s youngest national champion in 2019 at the age of 17.

‘Nobody can beat me’

A positive Covid-19 test denied Sekgodiso the prospect of winning a junior world title in Kenya last year.

Running coach Samuel Sepeng, who previously coached Semenya, persuaded the former footballer not to run away from athletics after that setback.

Sepeng has tasked his latest protégé to make it to next month’s World Championship finals in Oregon, but Sekgodiso is aiming higher after her exploits in Rabat last weekend.

“I’m very proud of how I did in my very first Diamond League, especially in the wind,” she said.

“I hope to be in the top three at the World Cup. I’m going to train hard and that competition is my main focus this year.

“At the African Championships you don’t have to worry about that, I know I’m going to take it [the title]† I’ve looked at the start lists and there’s no one who can beat me.”

The first round of the women’s 800 meters is scheduled for 06:55 GMT on Saturday, with the final at 12:45 GMT on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Semenya finished sixth in the 5,000m in Mauritius on Thursday at her first major championships since the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

She missed the qualifying standard for the World Championships – finishing more than a minute behind winner Beatrice Chebet and more than 30 seconds slower than her personal best over the distance, making her an outsider for a podium finish.

The African Athletics Championships started on Wednesday at the newly built Cote d’Or sports complex in Port-Louis and will end on Sunday.