Caster Semenya demonstrated great patience, but once it was time to put her foot down, the Olympic champion showed her class to race to victory in a 2 000m event in Montreuil, France on Tuesday night.
Semenya had been scheduled to race in the seldom-run distance while she was fighting against the IAAF regulations for female classification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The CAS ruled in the IAAF’s favour, but last week, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that Semenya be allowed to run in any distance while her appeal against the CAS decision is heard.
That frees up Semenya to run in the disputed 400m to the mile events, but she got things going on a wet evening in Montreuil, near Paris with a comfortable win in the 2 000m.
The reigning 800m Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion settled into third position for the first three laps, as a pace-maker sped along.
Semenya eventually made her to the front of the pack on the back straight before the final-lap bell.
⚡️ Elle est venue, elle a vaincu !— Meeting de Montreuil (@MeetMontreuil93) June 11, 2019
🇿🇦 @caster800m s'impose sur 2000m pour le plus grand plaisir du public montreuillois !
🥇 5'38''19 🇿🇦 Caster Semenya
🥈 5'38''66 🇪🇹 Hawi Feysa
🥉 5'39''90 🇪🇹 Adanech Anbesa#MeetingMontreuil pic.twitter.com/IQMTdtNk46
Despite a strong finish by Ethiopia’s Hawi Feysa, who pushed her all the way to the line, Semenya had just enough endurance and speed to win in a time of 5:38.19, which was just shy of Zola Budd’s SA 2 000m record of 5:38.07.
Feysa ended second in a time of 5:38.66, with another Ethiopian, Adanech Anbesa, third in 5:39.90.
Semenya’s long-time 800m rival, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, finished fifth in 5:43.43.
The South African’s next event is scheduled to be the Prefontaine Classic in California on 30 June, where she is expected to race in the 3 000m.
With the IAAF ruling suspending pending her appeal, Semenya is eligible to run in her favourite 800m at Diamond League meetings in Oslo (13 June) and Rabat (16 June), but she has not been listed among the entrants in either race.@ashfakmohamed