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Sluggish Semenya finishes last in 800m semi-finals in China
- Updated: August 27, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Caster Semenya was unable to build on her season’s best 1min 59.59sec run in the heats as she trailed in last with a slow 2:03.18 finish in the first of three 800m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing on Thursday.
The 2009 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist was never in the frame (almost literally) as she brought up the back of the field for most of the two laps.
Switzerland’s Selina Buchel took the field through the bell in 58.69 and Caster was second from the rear in 59.78.
She was soon out on her own at the back though as the rest of the field accelerated away and Moroccan Rababe Arafi went on to win in 1:58.55, a personal best. Runner-up was Ukraine’s Nataliia Lupu in a season’s best 1:58.57.
In their slow-motion review of the race, television commentators commented that the leaders were ‘starting to tire now’ .. but to be brutally honest it looked like the reverse in Semenya’s case and that she started tired! Clearly the sub two minute in the heats had taken more out of her than many were aware.
Semenya’s time was the slowest of 24 semi-finalists, a yawning 2.37 behind the next slowest and when she gets back to South Africa coach Jean Verster will have to sit down with her and have a long, hard look at what went wrong.
In the women’s 200m semi-finals Justine Palframan ended sixth in the third of three races.
The KwaZulu-Natal born Stellenbosch athlete clocked 23.04sec, 0.08sec outsider her personal best set in South Africa earlier this year.
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith won in 22.12 from American Jeneba Tarmoh (22.38) as the first two in each heat went through automatically.
Most impressive, although only fifth fastest in the semi-finals, was 100m silver medallist Dafne Schippers. Although the Dutchwoman’s 22.36 was ‘only’ fifth fastest behind Asher-Smith she looked in a class of her own as she had the luxury of being able to relax and ease up totally with probably close to 50m to run.