SA complete best medal haul at World Champs

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

Cape Town - South Africa finished third as the curtain fell on the final day of the IAAF World Championships in London on Sunday.

Caster Semenya ended Team SA participation in spectacular fashion, producing a sterling tactical effort to win the women's 800m title in 1:55.16 - setting a national record and also a world leading time to emerge triumphant.

Semenya finished 0.76 seconds ahead of silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

"I'm lucky to have a great support team who work with me. Full credit to them," said Semenya.

"Another world title would be a fantastic honour for me and I'd love to do it here in London. The crowds are so welcoming to me and it makes it feel even more special."

The SA squad earned the nation's best ever medal haul at a world championships, scooping a total of six podium places.

Aside from her 800m crown, Semenya also took bronze in the 1 500m event, while sprinter Wayde van Niekerk bagged two medals of his own, successfully defending his 400m title and charging to silver in the 200m contest.

Long jumpers Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai were also superb, earning gold and bronze respectively in their specialist discipline.

The USA topped the standings with 10 golds, 11 silvers and 9 bronze medals, with Kenya in second (5, 2, 4).

South Africa edged out powerhouse track and field nations including Great Britain and Ethiopia.

It was another step forward from last year's Rio Olympics where the team finished fifth in the athletics standings with four medals - two golds and two silvers.

"We have done extremely well," said Athletic South Africa president Aleck Skhosana.

"Everything fell into place as athletes and coaches proudly put every effort to ensure that the country's flag is hoisted high and fly among the best in the world.

"I am so overjoyed, I really don't know how to express it in words. We thank every role player for putting the interests of the country first and for understanding the bigger picture."

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