CAPE TOWN – Caster Semenya, world champion!
That is the title that South Africa's golden girl laid claim to once more as she pounced at just the right time to win the 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in London on Sunday night.
The 26-year-old also set a new South African record of 1:55.16, beating her previous best time by more than a tenth of a second, while it is also the fastest 800m time in the world this year.
Burundian Francine Niyonsaba claimed silver in 1:55.92, with American Ajee Wilson finishing third in 1:56.65.
Semenya clinched her second 800m gold medal at the world championships following her 2009 triumph in Berlin, while she also won a bronze medal in the 1 500m at this edition.
Sunday's victory crowns a sensational championships for the Rio Olympic champion, although it wasn't plain sailing in the 800m final.
First Wilson and then Niyonsaba took the fight to the South African, going out quickly on the first lap as Semenya settled into her usual position in the middle of the pack.
In fact, Semenya was in sixth position at the bell in 58.53 seconds for the first 400m, well behind leader Niyonsaba in 57.98. The Burundian increased the pace over the next 200m, and she was followed by Wilson as they tried to leave Semenya behind in their wake.
But they didn't count on her famed late kick, and as the trio made their way down the back straight, Semenya surged past the pair and set a new personal best and a new national mark, beating her previous record of 1:55.27.
Her gold medal also means that Team South Africa can rejoice with a record medal haul of six at a world championships, with golds to Semenya and Luvo Manyonga (long jump), a gold and silver to Wayde van Niekerk (400m and 200m), and bronzes to Semenya (1 500m) and Ruswahl Samaai (long jump), which places them in third position on the overall medal table!