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.
— IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) July 13, 2018
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.