By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s Rio Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya added another Diamond League 800-metre title to her name on Saturday evening.
Semenya beat a star-studded field that included all the Rio medallists to win the two-lap event at the Prefontaine Classice in Eugene, Oregon.
She clocked 1min 57.78sec to hold off Margaret Wambui by just 0.10sec, with Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba rounding off the podium in third spot (1:59.10).
Niyonsaba holds the meeting record of 1:56:72, set four years ago.
American Kendra Chambers was pacemaker and took the field through the bell in 59sec with Niyonsaba just behind. Semenya was some way off in third spot.
Going into the final bend, Semenya moved imperiously around on the outside. Heading into the straight, Wambui seemed to be matching the South African stride for stride, but Semenya did just enough to hold on for the win, despite being outside her season- and world-leading best time of 1:56.61.
Semenya’s fellow Olympic medallist Sunette Viljoen was scheduled to take part in Eugene, but instead opted to concentrate on her build-up to the IAAF World Championships in London.
Her next competition will be in Prague, Czech Republic, in two weeks time.
Hurdler Wenda Nel also planned on the US trip, but last-minute travel complications saw her staying home.
Picture of Semenya winning in Eugene courtesy of www.diamondleague.com