Semenya wins first 800 race of Olympic year



POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa (AP) — Former world champion Caster Semenya won her first 800-meter race of 2012 but was well outside the Olympic qualifying time in a sluggish season-opening run.

Semenya recorded 2 minutes, 3.60 seconds at a meet in northern South Africa on Saturday, nearly 4 seconds off the Olympic standard of 1:59.90. It was the 2009 world champion and 2011 world silver medallist’s first competitive two-lap race under new coach and former Olympic champion Maria Mutola.

Semenya said she made an early tactical error but still called her season debut “a good race.”

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, another former world champion, won the men’s 800 in 1:46.41, just under a second outside the Olympic qualifying time.

Both have until June 30 to qualify for the London Games.