South Africa’s Caster Semenya  powers her way back to the top

South Africa’s Caster Semenya powers her way back to the top

SOUTH Africa’ top female athlete, Caster Semenya powered her way to a convincing victory in the women’s 800m as she bettered her own world-leading time of 2016 to 1 minute 56.64 seconds in the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

Starting out in lane 7, Semenya settled into the middle of the pack on the first lap. At the bell of the two-lap event, Semenya was placed third.

It was in the final 200m that the 2009 World Champion opened up, and in the final 80m obliterated the title challenge of Francine Niyonsaba (1:57.74) of Burundi with consummate ease.

Semenya is now in the same kind of form that took her to gold in the World Championships 7 years ago. That title-winning effort set her personal best at 1:55.45 at the age of 18, and Semenya is now just over a second away from breaking that mark.

It means Semenya will be one of the favourites in the Rio Olympics in August, as she hopes to go one better than the silver medal she achieved at the London Olympics in 2012.

The 25-year-old also claimed victory (1:58.26) at a Diamond League meeting in Doha on May 6, which was her first in a Diamond League meeting since 2011.

Semenya as a result leads by a massive margin in the season-long Diamond Race in the women’s 800m with 20 points, 13 points ahead of the competition. – ANA