Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
17 Aug 2016
7:27 pm

Semenya, Gelant progress on the track

Wesley Botton

Lining up as the firm favourite in her specialist event, Caster Semenya had no trouble on Wednesday as she coasted through the women's 800m heats during a topsy-turvy early session for the SA team at the Rio Olympics.

Caster Semenya of South Africa during the Women's 800m Heats on Day 12 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Picture: Gallo Images

Though she said she had struggled a bit in warm conditions, Semenya won her race in 1:59.32, progressing safely to the semifinals to be held in the early hours of Friday morning (SA time).

“I’m just trying to comfort myself and run my own race so I can be better. So far I’m feeling good,” she said afterwards.

Meanwhile, Elroy Gelant did well to control his heat in the men’s 5 000m event, taking the pace out hard and finishing seventh in 13:22.00 to reach Sunday morning’s final as a “fastest loser”.

Willem Coertzen was lying 26th with 2 371 points after three rounds of the decathlon.

Elsewhere, Bridgitte Hartley, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games, was disappointed by her failure to reach the women’s K1 500m canoe sprint A final.

Hartley crossed the line in fifth position in her semifinal in 1:58.397 and booked her spot in Thursday’s B final.

“I always knew this was going to be one of the toughest races of my career … but I just felt like my boat run wasn’t coming together,” an emotional Hartley said.

“It only really came together in the last 200m when I felt I could really put in the power, but I realised it was just too late.”