London – South Africans in the stands at the London Olympic Stadium were delighted after watching Caster Semenya bag the country's sixth medal on the penultimate day of the quadrennial Games on Saturday night.
“It's indescribable, an awesome feeling,” said Linford Andrews, who is from Cape Town but has lived in London for the last nine years.
“I have always been a fan of Caster, and to be here a day before the closing ceremony and watch her run live... I would describe myself as the luckiest person in the world.”
Semenya, who started slowly and left her finishing kick to the final bend, tore through the field in the last 200 metres to clinch the silver medal in the women's 800m final in a season's best time of one minute, 57.23 seconds (1:57.23).
Mariya Savinova of Russia controlled the race to win gold in 1:56.19.
“I was surprised she (Semenya) was so far behind all the way,” said Clive Teabes from Mthatha, who said he was staying on in London to watch the national cricket team face England in the third Test at Lord's next week.
“It was an excellent finish but if she had started faster I think she would have done even better.
“She was seventh with 150m to go and she had a lot of ground to gain.” Jannie Steyn, another SA tourist from Paarl, believed Semenya would have received unnecessary publicity if she won gold, though he felt she would be in contention for a gold medal again at the 2016 Game in Rio.
Semenya was cleared to run against women in 2010 after a gender controversy kept her off the track for 11 months.
“It's brilliant for her,” Steyn said.
“After all the debate there was around her, I think it's good she did not win gold.
“I was worried that the debate would have started again, but I think she can win in Rio.
“I believe she has a very good future ahead of her under Maria Mutola, her new coach.” – Sapa