JOHANNESBURG - Caster Semenya may have added the longer distance merely as a challenge, but winning the 800m-1500m double at the IAAF World Championships in London is still an enticing prospect.
The South African has conquered everything she could over the two-lap event and could be making history at the global showpiece if she manages to cross the line first over both distances.
Three women in history have achieved this feat at the Olympics but no-one has ever won the 800m-1500m at the World Championships.
Semenya’s coach Jean Verster said his charge decided to add the 1500m at the championships as the schedule would allow her to race both.
“We will have to wait and see, it is a nice challenge, Caster is just keen on the challenge but it will be tough,” Verster said.
“The big reason we decided to do it - although training is going well - the programme allows for it which is not always the case.
“When we saw there were two full days between the 1 500m final and the first round of the 800m.
“In terms of scheduling it makes it a lot easier while both the 800m and 1 500m have rest days before the respective finals.”
While the country is salivating at the prospect of a potential double gold, Verster said winning would be a bonus.
“Because the training is going so well she decided to give it a go, we are not going in with major expectations,” Verster said.
“The thought was to go race and enjoy it and see what happens.There is no pressure on her to get a medal or win the race.”
Semenya coincidentally has something in common British middle-distance legend Dame Kelly Holmes, who was the last person to win the 800m-1 500m double gold at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Holmes used Semenya’s adopted home, Potchefstroom, as her winter training base during her heydey.
The British athlete used to stay with Verster when she would come to South Africa for her training.
“Although Kelly had her own coaches we helped her a lot."