Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the 800m in Zurich on Thursday. Photo: Ennio Leanza, Keystone via AP

JOHANNESBURG – Treble world champion Caster Semenya raced to her second consecutive Diamond League Trophy in the Zurich final on Thursday night.

Semenya claimed an unprecedented 20th victory in an 800m final on the trot to retain the Diamond Trophy.

The winner at the final of each Diamond discipline is crowned IAAF Diamond League champion, and are awarded a Diamond Trophy with $50 000 (about R660 000) in prize money.

Semenya has not lost a single two-lap race since September 6, 2015, at the Istaf Berlin meeting.

Proving to be a model of consistency, Semenya went through the first lap shadowing the leaders in sixth place.

The “Cobra” then struck earlier than expected on the second lap as she held on to cross the line in a tine of one minute, 55.84 seconds (1:55.84).

She was followed by perennial silver-medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who finished well behind her in 1:56.71.

Rio 2016 bronze medallist Margaret Wambui of Kenya rounded off the podium, crossing the line third with a new personal best of 1:56.87.

Caster Semenya charges to victory in the 800m in Zurich. Photo: Walter Bieri, Keystone via AP

World long-jump champion Luvo Manyonga also went unbeaten over the last year, claiming the Diamond League title on Thursday.

Manyonga’s fourth-round jump of 8.49m was good enough to earn him the overall title.

The South African horizontal-jumping phenom followed in the footsteps of former national record-holder Khotso Mokoena to claim the Diamond Trophy.

London 2017 world bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai finished in second place with a best attempt of 8.31m.

Mokoena, who was the first South African to claim an overall Diamond League title, was last with a best leap of 7.13m. World silver medallist Jarrion Lawson of the United States had to be content with third place with his best leap of 8.12m.

South African 100m record-holder Akani Simbine finished his season on an anti-climax. Simbine, who finished fifth in the 100m final of the World Championships in London, crossed the line in sixth place in Zurich on Thursday, clocking 10.10.

Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah crossed the line first with his season’s-best time of 9.97, with American world champion Justin Gatlin finishing fourth in 10.04.

Simbine clocked the third fastest time this season, with the 9.92 seconds he posted in March.

Luvo Manyonga flies through the air at the Diamond League event in Zurich on Thursday. Photo: Ennio Leanza, EPA

South African women’s 400m hurdles ace Wenda Nel ended sixth on Thursday with 55.86 to finish off her season. 

Fellow hurdler LJ van Zyl finished seventh in his race, clocking 49.92.

Rounding off South Africa’s performance on Thursday evening, 400m sprinter Pieter Conradie came home in seventh in 46.45.

Botswana ace Isaac Makwala walked away with the overall 400m title in the absence of double world champion Wayde van Niekerk, crossing the line in a time of 43.95.

 

IOL Sport