Caster Semenya won the 800m and 1 500m titles at the SA championships. Photo: Tobias Ginsberg

JOHANNESBURG – Fresh off her 1 000m SA record, Caster Semenya will be chasing the women’s 1 500m national record at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl on Thursday at the third and final Athletix Grand Prix Series meeting.

In fine form, Semenya broke the 35-year-old record of Ilse de Kock Wicksell on March 8 at the second Grand Prix meeting at Tuks.

She will face USA-based Dominique Scott-Efurd in the 1 500m at the third and final meeting in Paarl.

Scott won the SA 5 000m title last Thursday, clocking 16:55.05.

Semenya has already come close to the SA record of 4:01.81, set as far back as 1984 by Zola Budd-Pieterse, when she clocked 4:01.99 in Durban in June 2016 at the African Championships.

The World Championship bronze medalist over 1 500m has already raced the metric mile once in 2018, clocking 4:23.26 in Tshwane on February 3.

Not much should be read into that performance, though, especially after her blistering 2:35.43 SA 1 000m record.

Scott has raced the 1 500m twice this season on the indoor circuit, where she first ran a national indoor record of 4:05.25 (Boston, February 10) and 4:09.81 (Birmingham, March 2).

Without a pace-maker, Semenya will have to do the work herself.

She will need to go through the 300m mark in around 46 to 48 seconds, the 400m in roughly 62 to 64, with 2:08 targeted for 800m if she hopes to break the record. 

“At SAs, it is all about the title,” says Semenya, who recently graduated in sports management.

“So the race is more likely to be tactical. I am really looking forward to chasing Zola’s record.

“I have the 800m and the 1 000m record, so it will be good to get the 1 500m record too.”

Semenya is raw speed, while Scott seems to get better as the race progresses, making the 1 500m an exciting tussle.

Semenya claimed an 800m/1 500m double at the national championships at the weekend, a feat she last achieved in 2016, where she also won the 400m title.

African News Agency (ANA)