Semenya shows no signs of slowing down

Caster Semenya (Getty Images)
Caster Semenya (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa’s multi-Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya will not rest on her laurels and is ready to complete a clean sweep on the international stage this year.

She broke a 35-year-old South African record – set by Ilze de Kock Wicksell in 1983 – at the Telecom Athletics Grand Prix Series in front of a sold-out crowd at the Tuks Stadium on Thursday night.

Limpopo’s finest wants to win all her events this year: at the South African Senior Track and Field championships at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria on Friday and Saturday, at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, at the Diamond League Series in Europe and at the African Senior Championships in Nigeria in August.

When asked how far she expects to go this season, she said the only person who could stop her in her tracks was herself.

Semenya received a standing ovation when she smashed Wicksell’s record of 2:37.20 – she stopped the clock at 2:35.43.

Wicksell applauded Semenya as she improved on her time.

Semenya has clinched two Olympic gold medals in the women’s 800m – in 2012 and 2016 –and three world championship titles – in 2009, 2011 and last year.

But she’s hungry for more.

Semenya said: “We are happy with the time and with how we ran the race.

“It’s still early in the season and we can always go faster. We are going for the nationals this week, and the big one at the Commonwealth Games.

“The main thing is to stay healthy and work together with the management and the coach. To be a great athlete, you can never succeed alone.”

Semenya said she was over the moon about her record and dedicated her success to the younger athletes.

“It’s fantastic. I was training for this and I did it for the youngsters so that they too can train towards their goals.”

Semenya will do the double at the Commonwealth Games in the women’s 800m and 1 500m.

When asked if she was gunning for Zola Budd’s 1 500m South African record of 4:01.81, set in March 1984, Semenya said she would focus on that when the time was right.

“Let’s celebrate this one first and then we will talk about the 1 500m.”

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