Former 800m World Champion, Caster Semenya was last weekend beaten in the women’s 400m at a meet in Pretoria, South Africa.
Semenya, whose forte is the 800m, finished 2nd in the race with a time of 52.21s, with Tsholofelo Thipe taking the win after crossing the line in 51.96s. Rorisang Ramonnye was 3rd in 54.04s.
For most athletes running the two-lap race, running the 400m is a perfect way to help improve their finishing in the 800m. With many international competitions coming up, Semenya is looking at bouncing back on the big stage after a hiatus from the sport that saw her make a return to the global stage in 2015.
On returning last year, Semenya competed in the 2015 World Championships where she made the semi-final of the 800m, finishing 7th in her heat in 2:03.18. Although she went ahead to win GOLD a month later at the African Games in Congo Brazzaville, taking away almost three seconds from her semifinal time in Beijing to win with a time 2:00.97.
However, if she is to reach the heights of 2009 and London 2012 Olympics, where she won Silver in 1:57.23, she may have to match her Personal Best of 1:55.45 if she hopes to go a step further at the Rio 2016 Olympics and win GOLD.
All eight finalists in Beijing last year, ran below two minutes, with Belarus Marina Arzamasova winning GOLD in 1:58.03, Canada’s Melissa Bishop Silver in 1:58.12 and Kenya’s Eunice Jepkoech Sum taking Bronze in 1:58.18. These are some of the athletes Semenya will have to beat to come out tops in the women’s 800m contest this year.