Caster Semenya crosses the finish line to win the 800m at the Diamond League event in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday. Photo: @Diamond_League via Twitter

Caster Semenya broke the magical 1:55 mark for the first time in 2018 on Saturday when she set a new world lead to win the 800m race at the Diamond League event in Eugene, Oregon in the United States.

Semenya took charge from the start of the race, tucking in behind American pacemaker Chrishuna Williams for the first 600m.

Williams arguably went out too quickly over the first lap, running the opening 400m in 57.25, with Semenya second in 57.93.

Once Williams stepped off the track, Semenya stayed calm and kept going at a consistent pace despite the presence of Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba and American Ajee Wilson, who claimed bronze at the world championships in London last year.

Niyonsaba tried hard to keep up with the South African superstar, but once they hit the home straight, Semenya put her foot down, speeding away to win by several metres over the Burundian in a time of 1:55.91, a new best world time in 2018 and a meeting record.

It was not too far off Semenya’s South African record of 1:55.16, which may be under threat in the weeks to come.

Wilson pipped Niyonsaba for second place in a time of 1:56.86, with the former finishing third in 1:56.88.


IOL Sport