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Semenya sizzles

By Mark Etheridge

Young Caster Semenya rocked the track and field world on Friday with the fastest 800-metre time of the world this year.

Semenya, just 18 years old and a superb talent, won the two-lapper at the African junior championships in Bambous, Mauritius.

Her time of 1min 56.72sec breaks both the South African senior and junior records. Before Friday her best was the 2:00.58 she ran at the Yellow Pages event in Germiston earlier this year. That was the fourth fastest time on the SA all-time last year.

But that’s all history now and her run will have the middle distance world agog! The SA record of 1:58.85 was set 18 years ago by Zelda Pretorius. Semenya is now the second fastest junior of all time, with only Kenya’s Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo quicker, having run 1min 54.01sec last year.

Until last night Maggie Vessey had run the quickest 800m of the year when she ran 1:57.84 in Monaco on Tuesday night.

Semenya’s Mauritian victory was emphatic, beating runner-up Winny Chebet (Kenya) by a yawning margin of almost four seconds.