Semenya scorches to Team SA's 10th medal of the Games | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Semenya scorches to Team SA’s 10th medal of the Games

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20:  Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrating her gold medal in the Women's 800m race. Olympic Athletics August 20, 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by ©Christiaan Kotze/SASPA

By Mark Etheridge

Caster Semenya catapulted Team South Africa’s 2016 Olympic medal count into double figures on a hot Saturday evening in Rio as she ran to a predictable 800-metre win.
The 25-year old went into the race as one of the hottest favourites in sporting history and her season’s best of 1min 55.33sec was almost a full second ahead of her closest rival.
Going into the race on the back of an early dinner of guava, paw-paw, grapes and banana, she said: ‘I need this sugar, it really helps me in that last 100m kick!’
And by the time 1min 55.28sec of racing was done and dusted she’d rewritten the season’s record with a sweet world best for the two-lapper.
Forget the fact that it wasn’t close to being one of the top 10 fastest 800m times in history. It was still the fifth fastest time in Olympic history.
Starting in lane three she made sure she was at the front from the get-go and staying out of any argie-bargie.
She hit the bell in 57.59 and it was then that her closest rival (on paper anyway!) Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi did her best to take the sting out of Semenya’s legs. She managed to forge a gap of a few metres going down the back page.
But as they turned for home that same Semenya sting emerged and it was game over  as she went on to record a handsome win, and a winning margin of 1.21sec.
The time for world records and the like will come at the remaining meetings on the lucrative European circuit and you can be sure that agent Peet van Zyl and coach Jean  Verster’s mobile phones will be ringing off the hook for meeting offers.
Semenya’s medal is in all likelihood, Team SA’s last medal of these Games with only the marathon and men’s mountain bike cross-country to come on the final Sunday of the Games.
But it means that the rainbow nation can relax in the knowledge that it’s the most successful Olympics since re-admission back in Barcelona 24 years ago. The team now sits 27th on the medals table.
‘The pace felt a little bit quick,’ Semenya said afterwards. The first 400m it was just about being patient and doing my best. The coach [Jean Verster] just said I must wait for right moment, we kick that last 400m.
‘It was just fantastic to win in a field like, congratulates to all of them, even the people who went out in the first round but only eight people can ruin the final.
‘I was going to run 400m but the time difference didn’t favour us.. an I think it was a wise decision because the heat here has been crazy.
‘Maybe in future we’ll look I’m still young a 400m will favour me, something I’m still looking at.’
Before now the six medals won in Athens and London (12 and four years ago respectively) was the best return.
And had swimmer Chad le Clos lived up to pre-Games expectations and got gold of his own South Africa could have been even higher than the ?? position they find themselves in on Sunday morning.
In South Africa’s final track event at these Games Elroy Gelant ended 13th in the men’s 5000m with a time of 13:17.47 as Mo Farah defended his Olympic title with a 13;03.30 victory.

Picture of Semenya celebrating her win courtesy of Christiaan Kotze/SASPA


66 comments
Sue Windsor
Sue Windsor

Congratulations Caster and all our Olympians!!

Jennifer Farrow
Jennifer Farrow

You have reached your dream against the odds and made us all proud to be South Africans. Well done, Caster.

Cressida Vincent
Cressida Vincent

Beautiful 800m tactic run so nice to watch ...Well done and for SA

Karen Van Niekerk Steyn
Karen Van Niekerk Steyn

Castor you make us proud!! What an amazing race!! \U0001f44f\U0001f3fb\U0001f44f\U0001f3fb\U0001f3c5

Daniel Dixon
Daniel Dixon

Fantastic achievement. Well done. You are a true athlete

Liz Mc Lean
Liz Mc Lean

Very proud of you Caster. Congrats!!! Well deserved gold medal!

Kobus Marais
Kobus Marais

Fantastic and congratulations. 10th Medal for Team SA

Gladys Brink
Gladys Brink

Hey Liz. This is for you! Jarmila Kratochvílová is the current 800m women's world record holder. Caster Semenya is expected to win the 800m in Rio at the Olympic Games this month. #SebastianCoe, please compare these photos and explain why Jarmila's record is not in jeopardy, but Caster is forever in the spotlight with threats that she may not participate. You go, Caster, the entire South Africa is behind you!

Willem Coetzee-Venter
Willem Coetzee-Venter

Well done Caster,you made us proud. Just a pitty about the terrible tracksuits that our athletes were given to wear on the podium!! What a disgrace, how can Saskok even approve the ballgowns?\U0001f608\U0001f608

Betti Sooful
Betti Sooful

Caster all the way!! ! You have done us proud!!

Laura Robertson
Laura Robertson

Fantastic! Congratulations Castor! \U0001f1ff\U0001f1e6

Kim Holiday
Kim Holiday

Brilliant - congratulations. Well run and well deserved! \U0001f1ff\U0001f1e6

Sharyn Carr
Sharyn Carr

Pet ....... dad and I got up to watch at 2.15am. Great to see our colours and hear the anthem.

Melissa Hager
Melissa Hager

Was an awsome race...!!! Congratulations Caster..!!

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

Hmmm still not sure if 'she' should compete at all...

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

And if I were a competitor in the same race I'd be angry

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

Yes I know all that but I'm being logical - she/he's neither male nor female so doesn't fall in any category - simple to me! Doesn't mean I don't support him/her - I'm just stating a realistic fact!

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

Just because I'm from SAfrica doesn't mean I have to support Caster

Sharyn Carr
Sharyn Carr

Liz .. Please try and be happy for her and for SA. Not sure what sport you do but Semenya has worked hard to achieve this .. And now deserves it.

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

You don't get my point - not saying he/she hasn't worked hard. I'm saying there's no category for him/ her - fact! I've said my piece and not going to get caught up in the romantics of SA getting a gold

Carl Anschutz
Carl Anschutz

Liz please crawl under a rock. While you are there, I suggest you think about whether Michael Phelps gold medals should be taken away from him. You DO know that he had a huge advantage over his opponents because of the size of his feet and hands and as a result kicks like someone wearing flippers and with the size of his hands... well shall I go on?

Nola Mason
Nola Mason

Born in South Africa not living here. And it seems you can't stop replying to everyone's comments\U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

Haha if Caster was representing another country you guys would have a different opinion \U0001f603 As I said - you like the 'romantics' of winning a gold!

Amy Jill Williams
Amy Jill Williams

She is scientifically classified as a woman and you are scientifically classified as stupid. Don't worry, stupid isn't a rare condition. You should be able to find a cure.

Vera Hale
Vera Hale

Dear Liz. You, like all of us, have an opportunity to be a role model. Your woman shaming other woman stance is not going to gain you any respect. Think about it.

Gladys Brink
Gladys Brink

Liz like Carl said crawl back under your rock! You clearly have no idea what you talking about! SHE won on her own with her own talents and hard work! Well done Caster!!!!

Nola Mason
Nola Mason

My, my sour grapes everyone..... Liz O'neil lives in Australia!!!!! That explains her comments. Caster did not choose to have excessive testosterone, it is the way she was created. Soon they won't allow people with long legs to do the long jump because it is unfair to the short people who can't stretch their legs as far! Where would this ridiculousness end. Jealousy can make one very nasty and bitter.

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

Dearest I was born in SAfrica - I don't care which country gets the most medals - not into the Okympics - but I am into FAIRNESS- don't you sweethearts get it? \U0001f609

Liz O'neil
Liz O'neil

I've said my piece and am not going to waste my time replying to your silly little arguments just Coz you're all from SA

Charlotte Roets
Charlotte Roets

Clearly you are ignorant......referring to a female as a he/she when it was established after HER first ban that she's indeed a female......to get back to basic biology which clearly you don't understand she was born with female parts.......so Liz one can then maybe refer to you as ignorant/stupid????? Shame on people like you!!! Maybe they wouldn't have allowed her to compete in the okympics\U0001f602 but she was allowed to compete in the olympics. She did well and came out strong having to endure crappy remarks from people like u\U0001f60f

Carl Anschutz
Carl Anschutz

Just another little issue that a colleague has reminded me of... when Caster won silver in London, no one complained in the three years following London, when her results were NOT so great, no one had an issue... now she has worked extremely hard and now people want to come with this nonsense... #HandsOffCaster