Caster Semenya had a determined look on her face as she lined up for the 800m at the Doha Diamond League on Friday night.
When her name was announced, she raised her right arm into the air, fisted – and saluted the crowd.
The South African Olympic and world champion was about to run what could possibly be her last ever 800m, following the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that has given the IAAF the go-ahead to implement new female classification regulations for women with high testosterone levels who compete in events from the 400m to the mile.
While Semenya released statements via her legal team, and a few cryptic posts on social media, she hasn’t spoken on camera as yet.
That’s because she wanted to do her talking on the track, and what a mighty fine job she did of that in Doha on Friday.
With Olympic silver and bronze medallists Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui in the field, Semenya was up against her main rivals.
But it was as if there weren’t any other competitors in the race, such was the absolute professionalism and class with which the 28-year-old ran on the night.
Where she sometimes sits back in the pack before pouncing on the second lap, this time around Semenya went straight to the front – behind the pacemaker Noelie Yarigo – and they finished the first lap in 56.66.
Once Yarigo stepped off the track, it was all Semenya, as she glided away gradually from Niyonsaba and eventually crossed the line in a new meeting record of 1:54.98.
The Burundian was almost three seconds adrift in second with a time of 1:57.75, with American Ajee Wilson third in 1:58.83.
Start list for the Women's 800m:— IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) May 3, 2019
Habitam ALEMU 🇪🇹@princess_toya1 🇯🇲
Mahlet MULUGETA 🇪🇹@TheROYALlife21 🇺🇸@AjeeW 🇺🇸
Nelly JEPKOSGEI 🇰🇪@LynseySharp3 🇬🇧@FrancineNiyons4 🇧🇮
Olha LYAKHOVA 🇺🇦
Margaret Nyairera WAMBUI 🇰🇪@caster800m 🇿🇦@NYARIGO 🇧🇯
Semenya stood still on the track afterwards, seemingly taking it all in at the same venue where the world championships will take place in September and October.
It is unclear whether Semenya will participate at that event, and in which races, considering what has happened this week.
But for about two minutes on Friday night, Semenya showed the world what she’s all about…@ashfakmohamed