Our star attractions both failed to shine at Friday night’s Golden Spike track and field meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, writes Mark Etheridge.
World 2009 800-metre champion and current world silver medallist, Caster Semenya took silver but was overshadowed by Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo.
And “Bladerunner” Oscar Pistorius, hunting a second Olympic qualifying time to seal a spot at the London Olympics, laboured to last in the 400m.
It was a strangely subdued night as double world sprint champion Usain Bolt failed to break 10 seconds as he won the 100m in 10.04 after a sluggish start
Back to Semenya though and she was never in the frame as the field moved through halfway in 57.65sec. She was third from the back and although her customary strong finish saw her snatch second at the death her 2:00.80 time was more than two seconds off Kenyan Jelimo’s 1:58.49 victory.
Semenya’s coach is African track legend Maria Mutola and her meeting record of 1:57.72 eight years ago remains very much intact. And watching from the crowd world legend Jarmila Kratochvilova saw her world record of 1:53.28 from way back in 1983 never remotely threatened.
Pistorius lined up next to Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt but was never in the frame as the American eased up to win in 45.13. Pistorius clocked 47.66.
In the South African duo’s defence though is that they have often mixed up good and bad runs in close proximity so there’s nothing to panic about with the Olympics more than two months away.
Earlier Simon Magakwe, our national champion and joint recordholder in the 100m with a time of 10.06, was disqualified for a false start.
In the 200m Thuso Mpuang ran 20.95 to place seventh behind American Wallace Spearmon’s 20.14 in the men’s 200m. Mpuang’s countryman, Hannes Dreyer ran a 10.44 to place third in the men’s B race.
And world 3000m indoor finalist and SA 10km champion Elroy Gelant ran a personal best 7:41.38 in the men’s 3000m behind young Kenyan Isiah Koech (7:37.14).
Apart from Semenya other South African women competing were Sunette Viljoen and Tsholofelo Thipe.
Commonwealth champion Viljoen, already qualified for the Games, had a season’s best 61.84 with her second throw to continue her solid form with a fifth spot as world-recordholder Barbora Spotkova thrilled her local crowds with a world-leading 67.78 winning effort.
Thipe was third in the 200m behind Veronica Campbell-Brown’s season best 22.38. Still chasing a second Olympic qualifying time, Thipe’s 23.40 was 0.30sec adrift of the A mark.