|A brilliant Caster Semenya shocked the athletics world today when she blitzed around the track at the African Junior Championships in Mauritius to win the gold medal in the 800 metres in 1:56,72 – the fastest time by a woman in the world this year.|
With this performance she has staked her claim to be in medal contention at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in two weeks time.
Semenya smashed the 18 year old South African senior record of Zelda Pretorius which stood at 1:58,85 and also closed in on the African record of Pamela Jelimo of Kenya which stands at 1:54,01.
Semenya improved with every race this year and ended the South African season with a time of 2:00,56 – the fourth best of all-time in the country at that stage.
South Africa won another gold medal in the early results at the Championships when Lindie Liebenberg won the discus for women with a distance of 43,24m.
Alyssa Conley won the silver medal in the 100 metres for women in a time of 12,17 while Waide Jooste won the bronze medal in the men’s 100 metres with a time of 10,94 secs. His team mate Ethan Floris was fourth in the same time.
Luvo Manyonga won a bronze medal in the long jump for men with a good distance of 7,49m while Dylan Cotter was fourth with 7,476m.
“ASA is delighted with Caster's achievement. For us it was a matter of time before she dipped under 2 minutes but we are overwhelmed in the manner that she has done it.
"Her performance, which underlines new South African Junior and Senior records respectively is unbelievable and leaves us over the moon.
"As ASA we will continue to support talented young athletes like her in preparation for major international events," says Mr. Leonard Chuene, the president of Athletics South Africa (ASA).