Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
21 Jul 2017
10:48 pm

Wayde van Niekerk wins but Caster Semenya steals the show

Wesley Botton

The sprinting queen breaks her own national record in the 800 as Van Niekerk experiences a worthy battle before the World Champs.

Caster Semenya's strong finish saw her break her own national record. Photo: Vidar Ruud/AFP. ,

While all eyes were on sprinter Wayde van Niekerk, middle-distance runner Caster Semenya stole the show on Friday night, breaking her own national record at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Semenya was pushed hard in the women’s 800m race, but a late kick stretched her lengthy unbeaten run as she took the win in 1:55.27.

She clipped 0.01 off her SA best which she set when she won gold at last year’s Rio Olympic Games.

Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, the Olympic silver medallist, ended second in 1:55.47.

She dragged the top five athletes to personal bests and national records.

Van Niekerk, meanwhile, was given a scare after being tipped to break his own world record of 43.03.

Holding the lead on the top bend, Van Niekerk hit a wall and was overtaken by Isaac Makwala of Botswana, forcing him to dig deep against a quality field.

He held on, however, to take the win in 43.73, with Isaac Makwala finishing 0.11 off the pace.

In the men’s 100m race, Akani Simbine was a bit sluggish out the blocks and he was unable to close down the loping stride of Jamaican legend Usain Bolt.

He grabbed third spot in 10.02 – a rare performance outside the 10-second barrier – and crossed the line 0.07 behind Jamaican legend Usain Bolt.

Dominique Scott-Efurd finished 11th in the women’s 3 000m race in 8:41.33, taking more than five seconds off her personal best.

Wenda Nel ended fifth in the women’s 400m hurdles contest in 55.90.

For more sport your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.