Caster Semenya wins the 800m semi-final as Lynsey Sharp (left) pushes Charlene Lipsey. Photo: AP
Caster Semenya wins the 800m semi-final as Lynsey Sharp (left) pushes Charlene Lipsey. Photo: AP
Caster Semenya check to see if Lynsey Sharp is okay after the finish. Photo: AP
Caster Semenya check to see if Lynsey Sharp is okay after the finish. Photo: AP

CAPE TOWN – The 2009 world champion Caster Semenya qualified for the 800m final at the IAAF World Championships in London on Friday night.

The 26-year-old South African ran a superb race to win her semi-final in 1:58.90 in what turned out to be quite a quick race.

The other South African in the 800m, Gena Lofstrand, was unable to make it to Sunday night's final.

Semenya held her fire for most of the first 600 metres, settling into the middle of the pack as American Charlene Lipsey took the responsibility to run at the front.

Controversial British athlete Lynsey Sharp - who has previously made some disparaging remarks about Semenya - was second during that period, but once they reached the 600-metre mark, Semenya turned up the heat.

The reigning Olympic champion put her foot down and ranged up alongside Lipsey, and then eventually sped away on the back straight, although never going into an all-out sprint.

It was a steady pace throughout from Caster Semenya. Photo: AP

It was another comfortable run for Semenya as she easily won in 1:58.90, with Angelika Chichoka of Poland taking the other automatic qualifying spot for the final in 1:59.32.

Sharp was eventually disqualified, possibly for pushing Lipsey just before the finish line.

Lofstrand went out strongly in her semi-final, and stayed in touch with leading ladies Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Kenya's Margaret Wambui.

But in a largely tactical race, she was just unable to put in the necessary kick at the end as Niyonsaba and Wambui increased the pace, with Niyonsaba winning in 2:01.11 and Wambui second with 2:01.19.

Lofstrand ended eighth in 2:03.67.


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