Unstoppable Semenya ends season on a high at Continental Cup
JOHANNESBURG - Caster Semenya has completed her 2018 fight on the track with her undefeated 800m record of three years intact and unchallenged after winning the IAAF Continental Cup title in Ostrava. She has been one of the star athletes on the IAAF’s premier track and field meetings.
The battleground now moves from the track to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) where Semenya is challenging the IAAF’s female eligibility that is supposed to go into effect from November 1. But over the weekend Semenya continued what she does best despite the uncertainty over her immediate future.
She brought her season to an emphatic end winning just short of 30 consecutive two-lap finals races since September 2015 yesterday. Racing for Africa, Semenya won the 800m race from gun to tape going through the bell in 55.93 seconds, nearly a second ahead of her nearest rival.
She seemed to slow slightly running on her own approaching the finish clocking one minute, 54.77 seconds (1:54.77). Semenya finished more than two seconds ahead of world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson of the United States. Wilson finished in second place in 1:57.16 with Natonya Goule crossing third in 1:57.36.
On Saturday Semenya smashed the South African 400m record finishing second in a time of 49.62 seconds. Bahraini Salwa Eid Naser won the race in a time of 49.32 with Semenya chasing her down in the final 50 metres in what is her secondary event.
Semenya chopped 0.34s off the time she set in Nigeria and 0.44 faster than the national record Heide Seyerling set in Sydney in 2000. She produced a storming run on her leg of the 4x400m mixed relay contributing to the African team’s silver medal-winning effort, her third of the meeting.
Long jumper Ruswahl Samaai was the only other South African to claim a Continental Cup title with a best jump of 8.16 metres. He consistently leapt over eight metres, getting the winning leap on his second attempt in the competition.
“It was my dream to compete in an international arena not only for a national team but for the whole of Africa,” Samaai said. “A successful performance at the African Championships and at the Continental Cup were my biggest aims for the season. I won both competitions and I’m really happy that I fulfilled my plans.”
South African 100m record holder Akani Simbine brought a successful season to an end with a bronze.