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WATCH: Prudence Sekgodiso could be ‘new Caster Semenya’ after beating Halimah Nakaayi in 800m

South Africa's Prudence Sekgodiso won the women's 800m race during the Kip Keino Classic, part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. Picture: Daniel Irungu/EPA

South Africa's Prudence Sekgodiso won the women's 800m race during the Kip Keino Classic, part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. Picture: Daniel Irungu/EPA

Published May 8, 2022

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Cape Town – Does South Africa have a new 800m star to cheer on the world’s athletics tracks?

After the discrimination experienced by two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya, youngster Prudence Sekgodiso is set to take over her mantle in the two-lap event.

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The 20-year-old Gauteng North athlete produced a stunning performance to beat 27-year-old Ugandan world champion Halimah Nakaayi at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday to announce her arrival as a serious contender on the international circuit.

Sekgodiso, who won the SA 800m and 1 500m double in Cape Town recently in times of 2:03.31 and 4:16.38 respectively, outlasted Nakaayi and the rest of the field at the World Athletics Continental Tour event in Kenya to set a new 800m personal best of 1:58.41.

Nakaayi finished fifth in 2:00.93, with Kenyan Mary Moraa second in 1:59.87.

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It was an incredible feat by Sekgodiso, whose time also eclipsed the qualifying standard of 1:59.50 for the world championships in July.

Sekgodiso’s effort was the second-fastest by a South African woman, behind Semenya’s record of 1:54.25, and the second-fastest in 2022 – with American Allie Wilson running 1:58.18 in California on Friday.

The 1:58.41 time would have placed Sekgodiso in 20th position overall on the 2021 list, so it proves that she is now a world-class competitor who will only get faster with further exposure to the top athletes going forward.

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Sekgodiso was not the only local athlete to fly the South African flag in Nairobi, with Miranda Coetzee streaking to victory in the 400m in a new personal best of 51.50 seconds.

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The other South African female in action, sprinter Shirley Nekhubui, ended seventh in the 200m in a time of 23.40.

On the men’s side, former SA record-holder Henricho Bruintjies continued his comeback after a few seasons of injury issues with a commendable time of 10.13 to finish fourth in the 100m race.

Bruintjies was always up against it as the likes of African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala and Americans Fred Kerley, Isiah Young, Kenneth Bednarek and Michael Rodgers were in the field, and it was Omanyala who took the honours in a blisteringly quick 9.85. He was followed by Kerley in 9.92, with Young third in 10.13 as well.

Tshepo Tshite lined up in the 800m and just missed out on a world championship qualifying time in claiming third position in 1:45.51.

In the javelin event, Johan Grobler also grabbed the bronze with a 79.11m throw.

@ashfakmohamed

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