Sharp and precise in her tactical approach, Caster Semenya overcame a lone battle from gutsy opponent Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi to extend her lead in the Diamond League standings, stretching her unbeaten run in the women’s 800m event in Oslo on Thursday evening.
Semenya sat back on the first lap and Niyonsaba took the lead when Dutch pace setter Sanne Verstegen dropped out with 300m to go.
Despite opening a gap on the rest of the field, Niyonsaba was unable to shake off the Olympic champion, and Semenya struck down the home straight to secure another commanding victory in 1:57.59.
Niyonsaba finished second in 1:58.18.
In the men’s 400m hurdles race, national record holder LJ van Zyl got off to a good start, running against the boards in the outside lane, but he lost his rhythm down the back straight and was unable to recover.
Van Zyl settled for seventh place in 49.89 seconds, well off the pace of Norwegian athlete Karsten Warholm, who won in 48.25 in front of his home crowd.
Sprinter Pieter Conradie had a challenging Diamond League debut.
Starting in lane one, the SA champion also crossed the line well behind the leaders, ending sixth in 46.16, more than a full second outside his season’s best.
African champion Baboloki Thebe of Botswana earned victory in 44.95.
Earlier, national champion Rynardt van Rensburg won a ‘national’ 800m race on the pre-programme in 1:48.98, with countryman Henco Uys taking third place in 1:49.56.
The sixth leg of the Diamond League series will be held in Stockholm on Sunday.