Semenya Smashes 35-Year-Old Record

The Rio Olympics gold medallist and reigning world 800-metre champion broke South Africa’s oldest track record at the Liquid Telkom Athletix Grand Prix at the Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on Thursday night. – By Mark Etheridge, TeamSA

Picture of Semenya courtesy of Reg Caldecott

Caster Semenya once again proved her unbelievable talent when she won the seldom-run 1000m race in 2:35:44 to beat the old mark of 2:37:20 by close on two seconds.

Co-incidentally the old 1983 record was set in Bloemfontein by Ilze Wicksell, now 58 years old, and a sports manager at the High Performance Centre (HPC) in the same city.

Visiting Ugandan athletes Halimah Nakaayi and Winnie Nanyondo were second and third in 2:37:55 and 2:37:98 respectively as Olympic 400m hurdler Wenda Nel performed early pace-making duties.

Semenya told SABC afterwards: ‘It was a tough race. The pacemaker went too quickly so I was a little disappointed.’

“The main job of a pacemaker is to guide me, not kill me. But at the end of the day I got a new national record so I couldn’t ask for more. It’s fantastic.”

Semenya’s fine form means she’s nicely set up for a great performance at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which will be staged in Australia next month between 4-15 April.

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