Caster cruises to two golds

2011-04-11 00:00

WORLD 800-metre champion Caster Semenya did the double at the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in Durban yesterday, taking the 800 m and 1 500 m titles within 90 minutes.

In the 800 m, Semenya went through the first lap in 62 seconds but opted not to hit the turbo button, content to secure her title in 2:02,10.

The 2010 champion, Mapaseka Makhanya, was second in 2:04,52 with Mandie Brandt taking bronze in 2:05,21.

In the 1 500 m, Semenya tailed training partner Violet Raseboya as twins Lebogang and Lebo Phalula opened up a 50 m lead in the first 500 m. Semenya’s consistency of pace remained until 300 m to go where she hauled back the twins, pulling her Gauteng North team-mate Raseboya with her. The 800 m champion secured the double on the home straight, crossing the line in 4:12,93, to Lebogang’s 4:13,89, with Raseboya in bronze in 4:16,12.

“The objective was to help my training partner [Raseboya] to the title. It was about her not me. Unfortunately it didn’t work but she did get a PB [4:1612],” said Semenya.


“It was too hot to do a good (800 m) time today, particularly with the 1 500m after.”

When asked about attempting a world record, Semenya said “My focus is on the 800 m in Europe, the world championships and Olympics. Talk of world record would only come after that.”

Her manager, Jukka Harkonen, was quick to add that these performances came from an endurance base.

He said he expected Caster to reduce her 400 m to 51 seconds, which would open up a different level of 800 m performances.

Michael Seme, who coaches Stephen Mokoka, the 1 500 m silver medallist, said that Caster would run next weekend’s 800 m at the second Yellow Pages Interprovincial in 1,58.

Semenya ran the final leg of the 4 x 400m to assist the Gauteng North team to victory in 3:41,29 ahead of Western Province

In the men’s hurdles, Cornel Fredericks and L.J. Van Zyl brought the crowd to their feet in the 400 m final at the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in Durban yesterday.

Defending champion Fredericks was first out of the blocks with van Zyl closing the gap.

There was nothing between them over the final hurdle, but Van Zyl got the edge in the run to regain his title in 47,73 seconds, only 0,07 seconds off the SA record he set in Pretoria.

Fredericks’s time of 48,14 not only hacked a massive 0,65 seconds from his personal best, but also went well under the 49,40 seconds required for the World Athletics championships in South Korea in August.

Rene Kalmer secured the national title in the 5 000 m in 15:42,2 for the fastest time this season, but well off the qualifying time of 15:14. Her time was two seconds better than the best she posted last year in Paris.

Gentle giant Chris Harmse launched the hammer out to 71,70 m securing his 16th SA title — well off the required mark to send him to another world championships.

The Witness.

Van Zyl, Fredericksin thrilling finish

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