POTCHEFSTROOM – Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya won the 400m-800m double at the SA Track and Field Championships on Saturday, retaining two of the three titles she won a year ago.
Semenya dipped at the line in the 400m sprint in a time of 51.60, with Justine Palframan following behind her in second with 52.57 and Sonja van Tonder taking third in 54.66.
Racing her specialist two-lap event for the first time this year, Semenya had former training partner Gena Lofstrand and Anuscha Nice breathing down her neck over the first lap-and-a-half.
But Semenya put her foot down over the final 150 metres, crossing the line in a time of 2:01.03, with Lofstrand posting a new personal best of 2:03.32 and Nice crossing in 2:05.88.
“I would have preferred dipping below two minutes, but I still have the South African Student Championships where I can do that, while I will play around with the speed in the 400m,” Semenya said.
“I am quite happy with where I am now, so I am not worried (about) what will happen in
Semenya opted not to participate in the 1 500m, which she won in last year’s SA championships in Stellenbosch as part of a treble.
In the women’s sprints, Alyssa Conley successfully defended her 100m-200m double, clocking 22.94 in the half-lap event and 11.41 in the 100m.
Orazio Cremona produced a mammoth personal best heave of 21.12 metres in the men’s shot put to earn a ticket to the world championships.