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Caster Semenya takes another 800m title in her stride at World Championships

Caster Semenya claimed another global title when she won the world 800 metres gold while seemingly barely taking a breath on Sunday, biding her time before surging clear to record one minute 55.16 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.

By: Reuters | Published: August 14, 2017 10:25:40 am
Caster Semenya, world 800 metres, World Championships, sports news, Indian Express South Africa’s Semenya, who won bronze in the unfamiliar 1,500m on Monday, looked much more at home in her preferred event. (Source: Reuters)

Caster Semenya claimed another global title when she won the world 800 metres gold while seemingly barely taking a breath on Sunday, biding her time before surging clear to record one minute 55.16 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.

Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who took silver behind her in Rio, was second again in 1:55.92 with American’s Ajee Wilson claiming bronze in 1:56.65.

South Africa’s Semenya, who won bronze in the unfamiliar 1,500m on Monday, looked much more at home in her preferred event.

Niyonsaba led the field round at a sharp pace, hitting the bell at 57.98 seconds, with Wilson, who set a U.S. record this year, hot on her heels.

Semenya, however, maintained her languid stride a few metres back before closing the gap, easing past both on the final bend and running clear.

Semenya, 26, is the 2016 Olympic and 2009 world champion and is poised to gain two more golds after Russian doper Mariya Savinova-Farnosova was stripped of her 2012 Olympic and 2011 world titles.

“I just love you guys, it feels like home in London,” said Semenya.

Her victory will again raise the issue of hyperandrogenism and the perceived advantage of her raised natural levels of testosterone, though she said this week she was sick of talking about it.

IAAF head Sebastian Coe said on Sunday that the governing body is in the process of making new submissions on the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and that a date for a meeting was still being discussed.

Wilson said she had not expected a medal despite running into her best form at just the right time.

“I was trying to focus on my own race, I tried to speed it up for the last 100 metres not matter if I came up short,” she said.

“I pushed it 100 percent and I’m super-happy. The crowd was super-awesome and super-special tonight. It was electrifying.”

Kenya’s powerful Margaret Wambui, third behind Semenya in the Rio Olympics, had been expected to be in the medal mix but was never on terms with the leaders and, despite a strong finish, had to settle for fourth in 1:57.54.

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