CAPE TOWN – After obliterating her national 800m record recently, Caster Semenya sped to a new South African mark in the seldom-run 1 000m race at the Rabat Diamond League meeting in Morocco on Friday night.
Semenya stormed to the front of the field from the start, only trailing American pace-maker Chrishuna Williams after the first 400m.
The 27-year-old Semenya virtually ran her own race as she tried to chase down the 1 000m world best set of 2:28.98 by Russian Svetlana Masterkova in 1996.
Semenya herself ran a new SA record and personal best of 2:35.43 in March.
Her main opposition on Friday in Rabat was expected to come from Ugandan Winnie Nanyondo, who had a season’s best of 2:37.98, and Kenyan Nelly Jepkosgei, who held the Diamond League record of 2:35.43, which was set in 2013.
But they were no match for Semenya, who hurtled down the home straight, but came short of Masterkova’s world mark.
Nevertheless, her winning time of 2:31.01 was also a world lead, and she expressed her satisfaction afterwards.
“It was a very good race, but unfortunately it was not as fast as I expected. I hope to be here next year because it is always nice to be in Africa,” Semenya told the Diamond League website.
There were two other South African athletes in action on the night, with 5 000m runner Dominique Scott-Efurd ending ninth in a time of 15:11.65 – not far off her personal best of 15:10.23 – while long jumper Zarck Visser finished in sixth spot with a distance of 7.79m.