BackTrack Sports Athlete of the week (17 July – 30 July) powered by TomTom : Caster Mokgadi Semenya
There hasn’t been much competition as the focus is turning to the World Champioships in London starting on Friday (4-13 August). Regardless of that we still have nominees that are worthy of athlete of the week for their stellar performances. Let’s break it down as we look at the nominees for AOW.
1. LJ Van Zyl had a good race in Belgium where he finished 2nd in the 400m hurdles in a time of 49.46 seconds. What is impressive about the time and performance is that it was a cold and wet evening with the rain pouring down during the race but he still managed to put in a solid performance to go well under 50 seconds.
2. Akani Simbine finished 3rd at the 100m Diamond League in Monaco in a time of 10.02 seconds. Simbine lined up against a field he is most likely to face in the World Championships finals in London and it was imperative that he showed the world that he can perform under high levels of pressure and there seems to be no athlete who brings more pressure than Usain Bolt. Simbine managed to keep it together and finished in 3rd place behind Bolt who won in 9.95 and American Isaiah Young who ran 9.98 seconds.
3. Dominique Scott-Efurd stepped out for the 3000m also at the Monaco Diamond League and set a new PB (personal best) time of 8:41.33 for 11th place bettering her previous best by over 5 seconds which was 8:46.65 also set in Monaco the previous year.
4. Wayde van Niekerk ran in what looked like his tightest and toughest battle that the world has seen in a while where he showed character to peel off the inform Isaac Makwala. Van Niekerk set a meeting record time of 43.73 followed closely by Makwala in 43.84 seconds. It was an amazing race to witness with Van Niekerk motoring the first 200m but Makwala had enough fight in him to fight back to take the lead at the around 300m and it was head-to-head from then on, but Van Niekerk found the extra gear on the last 20m to show why he is number one. This left a smile on Makwala’s face as if to say I’m getting closer but not there yet.
5. Jerry Motsau is showing great return to form in his European season this time going under 3:40 in the 1500m after doing so a few weeks earlier when he set a time of 3:38.11. This time around Motsau set a time of 3:38.9 in Belgium.
But the TomTom Athlete of the week goes to the mighty Cobra, Caster Semenya for her extraordinary 800m Diamond League racein Monaco. Semenya won the 800m in Monaco in a time that lefts many records broken. Semeny’s time of 1:55.27 seconds is a new DLR (Diamond League record), MR (Meeting Record), NR (National Record) and WL (World Lead). As amazing as the time is it was not a race of pure dominance with Burundian, Francine Niyonsaba and American, Ajee Wilson pushing Semenya all the way to the line where they also set life time best and shattered their nations respective records. Niyonsaba and Wilson were not spectators running times of 1:55.47 and 1:55.61 and this certainly made this a thrilling race to watch as Semenya displayed her commitment to being undefeated.
Congratulations to all SA athletes for keeping the flag high!
Photo by Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler
Written by Black Legend