Versatile athlete Caster Semenya coasted to a rare 1 500m/5 000m double on Friday, while hammer thrower Tshepang Makhethe ended one of the longest winning streaks in the sport on day two of the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Germiston.
Semenya, who had won the 5 000m final the day before, led from start to finish in the metric mile final, crossing the line more than 100 metres ahead of her nearest opponent in 4:13.59.
Makhethe, meanwhile, landed the hammer at 72.25 metres, setting a personal best.
The 23-year-old athlete held off defending champion Chris Harmse by 55 centimetres, handing the 45-year-old veteran his first defeat in 24 years at the national championships.
Meanwhile, in other disciplines, Antonio Alkana showed a return to form, storming over the line to win the men’s 110m hurdles title in 13.38 seconds, and former Olympic long jump medallist Khotso Mokoena’s 16.81m leap was more than he needed to win his seventh SA title in the triple jump and his 13th national crown overall.
Earlier, national 100m record holder Akani Simbine progressed as the favourite for Saturday’s 200m final after clocking the fastest time (20.51) in the semifinals.
Defending champion Luxolo Adams was eliminated due to a false start in the penultimate round, while SA record holder Clarence Munyai withdrew in advance, but Simbine was nonetheless set to face a strong field for the half-lap crown.
He was up against former World Championships bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana, as well as in-form athletes Chederick van Wyk and 20-year-old Thando Dlodlo.
“The 200m is not my main event, so this was more of an endurance session for me than a full-out race,” Simbine said after the semifinals.
“It’s helping me to work on my top end speed for the 100m event, which is still my main focus looking ahead.”