Joining the long list of star pullouts from the Delhi Commonwealth Games, South Africa’s 800m world champion Caster Semenya on Wednesday withdrew from the event citing a back injury.
Hours after her mentor Michael Seme stated that she would be fit in time for the October 3 to 14 event, Athletics South Africa withdrew Semenya’s name saying that the star runner would be risking a major injury if she travelled to Delhi.
“Caster has been experiencing back pain for some period of time and continued to have pain after competing in a cross-country event at the weekend,” South Africa’s Commonwealth Games chief Tubby Reddy said.
“Our doctor has since examined her and ... (the) scan confirmed that she most certainly has a back problem. We are satisfied that this is a bona fide injury and as such, SASOC and Athletics South Africa agree that we are not in a position to compromise her health by risking her competing at New Delhi,” he added.
Semenya joins other star athletes such as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Phillips Idowu, David Rudisha and John Steffensen in pulling out of the event.
Team South Africa’s Chief Medical Officer Shuaib Manjra said the runner underwent medical testing yesterday and scans have confirmed a back injury.
“It would serve no purpose to have an athlete in Delhi who was struggling with any sort of injury that would compromise performance and it is our medical view that physically and emotionally she would not be capable of doing justice to her talent at an event of this magnitude,” said Manjra.