It may not have been her fastest time this year, but our 2009 world 800-metre champion Caster Semenya showed in Paris on Friday night that she’s not going to relinquish her title without a titanic struggle, writes Mark Etheridge.
This after a fine win in the two-lapper in the Diamond League event at the Stade de France. She failed to break the two minute barrier, stopping the clock at 2min 00.18sec but the manner of victory was the impressive facet of her run.
After staying at the back of the pack as the pacemaker took the field through 400m in 57.17ssec, she kicked into contention over the last 200m.
In a steady show of acceleration she moved her way around the outside of her rivals, staying out of trouble, before moving past Britain’s Jenny Meadows as they came into the home straight and she never looked like being beaten.
Meadows ended second (2:00.60) and Moroccoa’s Hali Hachlaf, winner of the last Diamond League, in Lausanne, taking third in 2:00.74
Semenya’s display makes up for her last-placed finish over the 1500m in Lausanne and then her fifth spot over the same distance in Reims earlier this week.
“It’s a good feeling to win here but I expected a faster race,” said Semenya. “Now I need to go back home and train hard for the world championships. My tactics were clear, just stick to the front runners.”
Semenya will also compete in the World University Games in China ahead of the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
It was also a good night for world championships silver medallist, Khotso Mokoena who finally qualified for the World Championships.
He had twice reached the A qualifying mark already this year but with an illegal following wind.
On Friday though his best effort, a leap of 8.25m did the trick. That put him fourth as Panama’s Irving Saladino won with an 8.40m jump.
In the women’s javelin Sunette Viljoen had another solid display in excess of 61m. Her best on the night was a 61.74 which saw her ending sixth behind Germany’s Christina Obergfoll (68.01). Viljoen though will be happy with another qualifying effort ahead of Daegu.
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius ended fifth in the able-bodied men’s 400m on Friday, inside the B-qualifying standard but the Blade Runner’s 45.84 is still some way outside the 45.25 A-mark. The race was won by Bahama’s Christopher Brown in 44.94.
The other South African in action was Ruben Ramolefi in the men’s steeplechase. He ended seventh in a solid 8:14.36, just three seconds outside his personal best of 8:11.63.