Athletics / 1 May 2016, 11:52am / Ockert de Villiers
Johannesburg – Caster Semenya did not disappoint at her homecoming as she completed another golden treble, winning the women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m titles at the South African University Championships in Limpopo.
Running in front of her own “tribe”, Semenya won the 400m and 1500m races on Friday before adding the 800m on the second and final day yesterday.
She first won the 1500m with a time of 4:31.12 before taking the one-lap sprint in 52.52 to set her up for another golden treble achievement.
Semenya then won her specialist 800m in 2:03.59 before adding her fourth gold medal with Pukke’s 4x400m relay team.
She became the first South African athlete to achieve this feat at the SA Track and Field Championships in Stellenbosch two weeks ago.
Semenya will open her international season at the first Diamond League Meeting in Doha on Friday.
“I ran under two minutes so I want to keep on being consistent in the next three races where we are looking to run 1:58, and even better,” Semenya said. “The main thing is to keep the form until the Olympics.
“For me it is not about showing people what form I am in but about doing what I love.”
This was the first time since she burst onto the international scene as an 18-year-old in 2009, that Semenya had raced in front of her home crowd.
The crowd at the Oscar Mpetha Stadium cheered her on with every step she took on the track, 80km from where she grew up in Fairlie, Moletjie.
“It makes me realise how much I miss home, and how much I love running in front of my crowd, my people, my tribe,” Semenya said.
Women’s long jump ace Lynique Prinsloo leapt to an Olympic qualifying distance with her last attempt of 6.78 metres. She has come tantalisingly close this season, and made it count yesterday going eight centimetres over the required mark.
World 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk claimed the golden sprint double winning both the 100m and 200m student titles.
He raced to victory in the half-lap sprint with a time of 20.35 seconds on the second day.
The day before he equalled his personal best time of 9.98 seconds in the 100m dash but it was not legal as he was assisted by a tailwind of +4.0 metres per second.
He claimed the South African student title in the short sprint later in the afternoon with a time of 10.03 ahead of Emile Erasmus in second place in 10.26 with Thando Roto crossing in third, clocking 10.30.
SA athletes, meanwhile, are being disadvantaged by incompetent officials with national triple-jump record holder Patience Ntshingila the latest victim. She improved her previous South African mark from 2012 by one centimetre, but was informed the wind metre did not work which denied her the record.
While Ntshingila was disappointed by the officials’ bungling, this was not the first time she has suffered at the hands of incompetence.
“I would have broken my previous record – the last time it happened was in Potchefstroom in 2011 – but I won’t let it go to my mind,” Ntshingila said.
Her coach Emmarie Fouché said her athlete had made sacrifices to be in her current form which made the result even more disappointing.
“She worked really hard and we had a plan, the plan being to get the distance in the triple jump which she did, and there have been few meetings for her,” Fouché said.
“Everything was right except the wind reading, I asked them the whole time to ensure the wind gauge was working.
“I just feel that at a meeting like this where athletes are trying to qualify (for the Olympics), and where top athletes participate, you need to ensure you have officials that know what they’re doing.”
Meanwhile, Dylan Cotter leapt to a new personal best in the triple jump with a winning effort of 16.26.
The long jump specialist improved on his previous best by more than a metre.
Lindsay Hanekom edged closer to the Olympic mark when he raced to a new PB of 49.47 seconds missing the qualifying time by seven one hundredths of a second.