SEMENYA LEADS SA CHARGE – Day 4 Report
Led by Caster Semenya, a contingent of 5 South African athletes were in action on day 4 of the IAAF World Championships in London.
It was dubbed the ‘the greatest women’s 1500m field ever assembled’ and it might well be the greatest 1500m women’s race to date. With names like Faith Kipyegon (KEN), Jenny Simpson (USA), Sifan Hassan (NED) and Laura Muir (GBR)! gathering on the line up next to South Africa’s golden girl Caster Semenya, the spectators were in for a treat. The 2:17.13 slow double lap set by home favourite Muir was not fast enough for Sifan Hassan who decided to take the lead at 900m. Going with her, Kipyegon and 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba set themselves up for a move as the bell went. A surge from Dibaba was too early because Faith Kipyegon’s faith was sealed when she took charge with 300m to go and never looked back. A final 43.66 second final 300m was good enough for the world junior champion to upgrade to senior champion. She stopped the clock on 4:02.59, narrowly beating American Jenny Simpson (4:02.76) and our golden girl Semenya (4:02.90)! This was Semenya’s first international 1500m outing, so a bronze medal is more than enough.
Whilst Caster enjoyed a successful evening on the track, South Africa’s sprinting resurgence continued when both Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine qualified for the 200m semi finals. Jogging over in the line in 20.16, Wayde’s quest to 400m and 200m glory continues. He will be joined by good friend Akani Simbine who also made it through to the semi-finals clocking 20.26. Clarence Munyai, however, was disqualified for stepping into another competitor’a lane, making it a sad affair as this is the second disqualification for two of the nation’s young debutants.
Wenda Nel, on the other hand, cruised into her 400mh semi-final after a solid 55.47 second 2nd spot.
Written by Reggie Hufkie