Caster Semenya got her South African championships off to the best possible start on Thursday when she cruised to the 5 000m title.
The 800m Olympic champion began her day with an easy win in the 1 500m heats, but opted to get in some endurance training by participating in the 5 000m in Germiston.
She didn’t have it all her own way in the long-distance event, though. The 3 000m star Dominique Scott-Efurd, who is based in the US, kept pace with Semenya throughout, and was even in the lead at the bell for the final lap.
But soon enough, Semenya put her foot down and motored away to win in 16:05.97, with Scott-Efurd taking silver in 16:13.71.
In the men’s 100m, former SA record-holder Simon Magakwe proved once again that he means business in the short sprint by taking the title in a quick 10.05 seconds.
With Akani Simbine opting to run in the 200m only, Magakwe’s main rival was Thando Dlodlo in the 100m.
Dlodlo was the fastest out of the blocks, racing into the lead over the first 50 metres. But Magakwe showed all his experience and power by roaring back, and beating his man easily in the end – Dlodlo finishing on 10.15.
Tebogo Mamatu clinched the women’s 100m crown in 11.45.
In the field events, Victor Hogan became the discus champion with a 60.20m effort, while Rocco van Rooyen won the javelin in 77.82m.
Among the women, Julia du Plessis edged out Kristi Snyman on a count-back at 1.80m in the high jump, and Ischke Senekal was victorious in the shot put with 16.80m.
The championships continue until Saturday, although Wayde van Niekerk will not participate in the 400m after withdrawing earlier on Thursday.@ashfakmohamed