Semenya ends second | SASCOC - SASCOC

Semenya ends second

By Mark Etheridge

Caster Semenya gave herself a huge boost of confidence in the bid to defend her world 800-metre title later this year when she dipped under two minutes for the first time this season in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday evening.

Semenya had to settle for second on the night at the Prefontaine Classic, the fourth in the Samsung Diamond League series, but that won’t have worried her as she looks to fine tune for the world championships in Daegu, South Korea at the back-end of August.

She clocked 1min 58.88sec in the two-lap race, won by Kenia Sinclair, the word’s leading 800m runner this year.

Jamaican Sinclair won in 1:58.29 but Semenya looked confident as she powered her way to second after being the proverbial country mile back after one lap.

Coming around the final bend she overtook the majority of the field but it just wasn’t enough to catch Sinclair. Still, it looked like Semenya may have yet had some gas in the tank at the tape.

Semenya was one of five South African athletes in action. First up was Paralympic ace Oscar Pistorius, still bidding to qualify for the able-bodied Olympics in London next year.

Not this time though as Pistorius ended sixth and last in the men’s 400m in 46.33 as Angelo Taylor won in 45.16.

In the men’s long jump Beijing Olympics silver medallist, Khotso Mokoena had a season’s best second spot, his 8.17m effort just one centimetre behind British jumper Greg Rutherford. All three leading athletes recorded efforts with an illegal following wind, above the permitted 2m/sec.

Mokoena’s jump came in his penultimate attempt. His other five efforts were all within eight centimetres of each other ÔÇô 8.11, 8.19, 8.19, 8.16 and 8.14.

In the women’s javelin, Sunette VIljoen had another solid display, beating the 60m mark again. The Commonwealth champion’s best of the night was a 60.29 throw, in her final attempt of the evening, to put her in fifth spot.

At this stage of the season she’s just looking to throw consistently above 60m mark and she’ll be encouraged with her evening’s work. Winning throw of the evening was Germany’s Christina Obergfoll with a season leading 65.48m.

Final SA athlete in action was Ruben Ramolefi in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. He ended fourth in a race won by by Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya in 8:08.34. Ramolefi clocked 8:24.95, still some way off the 8:14 he ran in Durban earlier this year but still a solid return.