South Africa’s indomitable sprinter Caster Semenya breezed to victory in the much-anticipated women’s 800m at the Rio Games.
Olympian; Caster Semenya – who stirred controversy over her hyperandrogenism; meaning her testosterone levels are visibly higher than most women with striking resemblance with that of most men – grabbed gold last night amid criticisms over the fairness of the race.
While all eyes focused on her, the proud South African, brought her A-game to the tracks.
As expected, Semenya dominated the track right from the start as she finished the race by more than a second on Saturday night, improving her local record to 1min 55.28secs.
Though Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi was hot on her heels, Semenya never relented as she pushed on to victory.
On the final bend, she reclaimed her lead on the tracks to clinch the gold.
Nevertheless, Semenya acknowledge the fact that she ran with great sprinters who also put in their best.
“The coach just told me to be patient and wait for the right moment,” Semenya said afterwards. “It was just fantastic to run with the great athletes like this in the field.”
Niyonsaba of Burundi won silver after finishing in 1:56.49; Kenya’s Margaret Wambui grabbed the bronze, after crossing the line in 1:56.89.
As the silver medallist at London 2012, Semenya’s gold on Saturday has made her the first SA athlete since 110m hurdler Sid Atkinson in 1928 to upgrade a silver to gold four years later.
Prior to the Rio Olympics, Semenya decided not to give the 400m a trial. However, the decision is not a final one as she hinted that she might be going for it in the future.
“The 400m is something I’m still looking forward to.”
Meanwhile as SA sprinter Caster Semenya stormed to gold on Saturday, she won Team South Africa’s second gold of the Games. Her gold was also their 10th medal overall; matching the country’s best returns from 1952 and 1920.