Caster Semenya runs her fastest ever time on SA soil in the 800m
Caster Semenya continued to dominate the local scene after running her fastest ever time on home soil in the 800m at the South African track and field championships at Tuks Stadium on Saturday night.
The three-time 800m world champion won her race in one minute‚ 57.80 seconds (1.57.80) to beat Gena Lofstrand (2:05.82) and Lee-Ann Blake (2:07.73)‚ who finished second and third respectively.
Semenya is hoping to take her blistering form to the third and final leg of the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl on Thursday.
“We need to run almost the same pace here in South Africa like in the European season while at the same time we are doing it for the people‚” she said‚ adding that running at sea level in Paarl on Thursday does not worry her.
“For me it is not about altitude and sea level‚ it’s about what can I do best.
"It is about how fast I want to run because I try by all means to be consistent.
"I work very hard to be consistent.
"It is almost a decade running 800m and I think I am more matured.
"I know how to run splits because I work with my coach at training to practice.”
Semenya also confirmed that she would be furthering her studies after graduating recently.
The other highlight of the weekend was 17-year Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool matriculant‚ Zeney van der Walt‚ who broke the South African junior 400m hurdles record that has stood 35 years.
Van der Walt‚ who is the reigning world youth champion‚ obliterated the long-standing record sprint legend Myrthe Bothma (55.74) set in 1983 in Bloemfontein as a 19 year old.
Wenda Nel won the 400m hurdles race in a time of 55.01 but Van der Walt finished second in a time of 55.05 to also rank fourth on the South African all-time rankings in the 400m hurdles.
“I did run my own race‚" Van der Walt said.
"My last hurdle could have been better but I am happy with my performance.
"This victory gives me a lot of confidence because now I know that I can reach 55 seconds.
"My aim going forward is to run even faster but I am happy with my time today.”