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A controlled, calm and confident Caster Semenya made a statement of intent last night as she qualified fastest for tomorrow night’s 800m final.
It was not just the time, one minute and 57.67 seconds, but the manner of it. She started strongly, settled in fifth place as her heat went through 400m and then kicked with 250m left.
Russian Elena Arzhakova was second fastest at 1:58;13 while Kenya’s Janeth Kepkosgei Busienei was third in 1:58;26.
Defending Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo had a canter in her heat, a slow one, in 1:59;42.
“I think the time I ran makes me very confident. You have to think about your own race, you have to think of yourself,” said Semenya.
“You have to run a good time to get into the final and that’s what I did. Sometimes, if you want to run a good race, you have to forget about everybody, just think about your own race because it can disturb you.
“You have to think about yourself. What matters is when you cross the line. I was a bit nervous but this crowd makes me feel at home and reminds me of good memories. It’s about putting on the spikes and then just running.”
Sunette Viljoen just finished outside the medals last night when she ended in fourth place in the javelin, just 38cm shy of a podium place.
She had held the bronze medal spot for most of the competition with 64.53m, but she was overtaken by Germany’s Linda Stahl, who threw a 64.91m.
The competition was won by Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic. Germany’s Christina Obergfoll was |second.
For an hour it looked as though the journey of Oscar Pistorius and his 4x400m relay teammates was over at the Olympic Games.
Ofentse Mogawane hadcrashed on the last bend before the straight and the South Africans had not finished the race.
Pistorius, who was to run the third leg, waited for Ofentse Mogawane to arrive.
On his right and left the Belgium teams passed on their batons, but there was no sign of the South African.
He and teammates Shaun de Jager and Willie de Beer saw a crumpled figure in the distance. It was Mogawane, who had dislocated his shoulder in the fall.
Pistorius walked off the track, his hands on his heads, denied what seemed to be a final chance to run in London.
Then came the news, almost 60 minutes later: the IAAF had agreed with Team South Africa’s athletics manager that the Kenyan, Vincent Mumo Kilu, had chopped across the line of Mogawane line and obstructed the South African.
The South Africans would be included as a ninth team in the final.
The IAAF’s statement said that they agreed to advance the South African team, even though they did not finish the race, considering that they “had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya”.
Kenya’s Vincent Mumo Kilu, who had carried on running, claimed he had been “spiked” by Mogawane. He showed off his running spikes and, indeed, there was a spike mark in them. He claimed that he had merely been trying to overtake.
Anaso Jobodwana’s exited the Olympics with a wry smile on his face after finishing last in the 200m final.
Making the final had been an accomplishment, but he was blown away by a field chasing down Usain Bolt, who made history by doing the 100m and 200m double for the second time.
Jobodwana’s 20.27secs in the semi-final was good enough to get him there, but then Jamaica took all three medals on offer with Bolt (19.32secs), Yohann Blake (19.44 secs) and Warren Weir (19.84secs).
Jobodwana ran a 20.69secs in the final.
“No excuses at all but my body just didn’t seem to be responding today and I need to do more work.
“Man, this was a completely different race to the semi-finals. These guys just upped their game and were in a different class. It was just awesome being in the final and part of the race.”
Willem Coertzen was ninth overall in the men’s decathlon.